Ahead of what is expected to be a tough fire season, an operational readiness exercise dubbed ‘Icarus 2020’ took place Tuesday morning in the Larnaca district.
The exercise featured the involvement of the forestry department, the fire service, the police, the air force unit, the national guard, forces of the British Bases, the civil defence, the department of civil aviation, the meteorology department, and the foreign ministry.
Firefighting aircraft took to Larnaca skies, including three Air Tractor 802F planes, one Thrush 550P planes, and forestry department aircraft.
Two Kamov 32 helicopters of the fire service, two Augusta Westland 139 helicopters, one of which belongs to the police’s air force unit and the second to the 460th national guard search and rescue squadron, and two Griffin helicopters of the of the 84th British air force squadron also took part.
The specific objectives of this exercise, according to the forestry department, were the practical implementation of the Icarus 1 and Icarus 2 firefighting plans, the coordination of firefighting aircraft within the airspace of the Fire Traffic Area, the implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs), the communication through common language despite language barriers, and the understanding of the concept of fire coordination.
The exercise also wanted participants to identify and misconceptions or any difficulties that arose during the firefighting operation.
The scenario of the exercise saw four aircraft of the forestry department take to the skies to extinguish flames, as per the Icarus 1 firefighting plan. The Icarus 2 plan was then activated, whereby following the evaluation of the situation by the forestry department, the police helicopter takes off, assuming coordination responsibilities, after which the helicopters of the national guard and the British Bases take off to join the firefighting battle.