In the wake of recent fires that broke out, the Fire Department of Zakynthos have taken the initiative to inform of the very heavy penalties they impose to those who, from negligence, cause fires, especially farmers burning grass and branches so as to clear their fields.
The information from the Fire Department:-
Lately it has been observed that there has been an increase in incidents of fires, occurring in rural areas that have extended to woodlands.
The vast majority of cases are due to negligence and lack of basic safety measures by farmers during the burning of crop residues, that are carried out, to a large extent, this time of year.
We are making it known to you that the Fire Department is interconnected with the geospatial data base of OPEKEPE, within the context of upgrading research, in regards to the crime of arson, with the use of new technology.
Under the current legal framework, for areas burnt by arson intentionally or negligently, in addition to the most severe criminal penalties in accordance with the Penal Code, of imprisonment from 2 years to life and a fine from 2.900 to up to 150.000 euros (articles 264. 265. 266. PK) the following are also envisaged:
They cease to be entitled to compensation (subsidy) from OPEKEPE even in cases of indications of guilt of themselves or members of their families and are obliged to return all the money of the subsidy that they have received as unduly paid.
If it has to do with woodland, it is automatically declared as reforestable by the Forestry Directorate and OPEKEPE is immediately notified, with a ban from now on of grazing and intervention, in any shape or form. Furthermore offenders are punished with imprisonment and a fine (Article 70 of Law 998/1979).
In view of the above, we want to draw the attention of all the inhabitants of our region. The controlled burning of crop residues, in rural areas, may be allowed until 30/04/2016, but the following measures should be adhered to:
A. burning is done only in the morning hours.
B. the creation of a high zone, by plowing or thruster, with a width of at least 10 metres around the area to be burnt, when it is less than 300 metres away from forests or woodlands and in other cases a zone of at least three (3) metres.
C. Ensuring the presence of portable means to deal with any extension of the fire and a sufficient quantity of water.