A burned car is stuck under a burned tree following a wildfire in Neos Voutzas, near Athens, Greece, July 26, 2018.
A burned car is stuck under a burned tree following a wildfire in Neos Voutzas, near Athens, Greece, July 26, 2018.

Greek authorities suspect arson may have been the cause of this week's devastating wildfires that killed at least 82 people and left an unknown number missing.

"We have serious indications and significant findings of criminal activity," Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas said Thursday. "We are troubled by many factors, and there have been physical findings that are the subject of an investigation."

He gave no other details.

An aerial view shows burnt houses and trees follow
An aerial view shows burnt houses and trees following a wildfire in the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece, July 25, 2018.

The fires broke out Monday and tore through a coastal area northeast of Athens popular with tourists and beachgoers. Rescuers and volunteers searching what is left of homes and small towns reported scenes of horror — charred bodies, including a group of 26 people huddled together, some embracing.

Relatives crowded morgues looking for loved ones. Forensic experts said many of the victims are impossible to identify without dental records or DNA samples. Survivors said they ran to the beach to escape the flames. Some people who were already burned waded into the water and were picked up by ferries or fishing boats and the Coast Guard.

Many people are angry at what they say was the government's slow response to the disaster and its failure to issue warnings. They also said authorities did not have an evacuation plan ready.

Firefighters said they were battling blazes on several fronts and that gale force winds helped spread the flames.