Max Planck Institute researcher and Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) director Johann Georg Goldammer met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at government headquarters on Thursday.
Professor Goldammer was invited earlier in August by Tsipras to convene a committee to examine independently the factors leading to the wildfire tragedy in Mati in July and to propose measures for fire protection in the future.
In brief statements at the start of their meeting, Tsipras said that Goldammer's committee will "provide us with specific proposals leading to measures and policies that will prevent such disasters in the future." The premier also committed to aiding the committee's work and to guaranteeing its independence from political influence.
On his part, Goldammer said that researchers are now observing "an unprecedented era of fires that are difficult to control and which behave differently from what we are used to," largely due to climate change. Landscapes are therefore changing dramatically, threatening natural life and residents globally, he said.
The GFMC, affiliated with the United Nations, "advances the knowledge and application of the ecologically and environmentally benign role of natural fire in fire-dependent ecosystems, and sustainable application of fire in land-use systems," according to its site.