Expert: Fires will get deadlier as cities grow, planet warms

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A destroyed house stand near the sea one month after a deadly wildfire tore through holiday homes near Athens, on at the seaside area of Mati. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire that killed more than 90 people and touched off a political spat that forced country’s minister of public order to resign. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A destroyed house stand near the sea one month after a deadly wildfire tore through holiday homes near Athens, on at the seaside area of Mati. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire that killed more than 90 people and touched off a political spat that forced country’s minister of public order to resign. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Athens, Greece (AP) – A senior German scientist who will lead an independent inquiry into this summer’s deadly Greek wildfire says fires are expected to pose a greater threat worldwide in the coming decades.

Johann Goldammer, who heads the Global Fire Monitoring Center at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Thursday after agreeing to head the inquiry into Greece’s deadly July 23 wildfire.

The blaze killed 96 people and gutted hundreds of homes in a seaside area near Athens.

Goldammer says that climate change, growing cities and changes in land use and commercial agriculture have created an increased the risk of deadly wildfires globally.