Greece, August 25, 2007—
Giant plumes of smoke, as seen from space, rise from wildfires that ravaged Greece this week.
Originally estimated in the dozens, the fires are now thought to have numbered in the hundreds, stoked by gale-force winds and tinder-dry conditions leading to what authorities are calling a national disaster.
The blazes have destroyed thousands of homes, taken the lives of at least 64 people, and caused some U.S. $1.6 billion in damage, according to government reports.
Many of the fires seem to have been set intentionally, officials said, and a $1.4 million reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the arsonists.
By Wednesday, all but one of the major fires had been contained, and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced his government's plans to begin rebuilding immediately.
"It is our duty to restore what has been lost, and it is our duty to future generations to restore the environment that has been lost," Karamanlis said.
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Image by NASA/AP