116633 7/25/2007 22:27 07ATHENS1487 Embassy Athens UNCLASSIFIED VZCZCXRO2509 OO RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHYG DE RUEHTH #1487 2062227 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 252227Z JUL 07 FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9759 INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST IMMEDIATE 0951 RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE IMMEDIATE 1050 RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA IMMEDIATE 1243 RUEHIK/AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI IMMDIATE 1414 RHMFIUU/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC IMMEDATE RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATERUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHMFIUU/NVSUPPACT NAPLES IT IMMEDIATE RUEHRC/DEPT OF ARICULTURE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHMFIUU/NAVSPPACT SOUDA BAY GR IMMEDIATE RUEPGCA/USEUCOM AIDES VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEPGDA/USEUCOM JIC VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE RUDKSR/EUCOM PLANS AND ANALYSIS STAFF STUTTGART GE IMMEDIATE UNCLAS ATHENS 001487
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MOPS, PGOV, PREL, GR SUBJECT: GREECE URGENTLY REQUESTS U.S. ASSISTANCE IN FIGHTING FIRES
1. (U) On July 25, Greece formally requested U.S. assistance in its efforts to fight forest fires, which have devastated many areas of the country and are overwhelming the Greek fire service. The request was made by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to Charge D'Affaires, a.i., Tom Countryman and reflected a similar request from Greece to the EU. Bakoyannis asked for any assistance the U.S. could offer but did not specify any particular type of equipment or support. From our monitoring of Greece's efforts to fight the fires, it appears that the Greek fire service is stretched beyond its limits. We believe any firefighting aircraft, ships, trucks, equipment, or other assistance from military and/or civilian sources would be most welcomed and much appreciated.
2. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of fires in many parts of the country have destroyed valuable forest areas and caused widespread damage to private property. Several deaths have also been reported, including two Greek firefighters. Although forest fires are a regular seasonal occurrence in Greece, the large number and the size of the fires this year have overwhelmed the Greek fire service. Firefighting aircraft are an almost daily occurrence in the skies over Athens, which has seen several fires burning in its outskirts -- including one last week visible from the Embassy. COUNTRYMAN