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14 July, 2024
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Fire outbreaks increase: Public urged to stay vigilant amid heatwave

Rising temperatures and outdoor activity contribute to surge in recent fires, Fire Service warns

Source: CNA

In recent days, the number of fires breaking out has increased, Fire Service Spokesperson, Andreas Kettis, told CNA on Monday, adding that during this period of high temperatures, the risk of fires is too high and called on the public to be vigilant.

Replying to questions, Kettis said that the prolonged heatwave combined with the intense activity in the countryside, especially on the weekends, but also the environmental conditions in general, are factors that can lead to fires breaking out and spreading.

However, he added, if people are cautious, there will definitely be fewer fires.

"There have been several fires. There is thus an upsurge in recent days" he said, noting that the prolonged heatwave contributes to this.

Asked if the causes of the latest fires have been investigated, Kettis said that there is a serious possibility that the fire in Alassa was caused by flares thrown by unknown people adding that this is still being investigated as well as the cause of the other fires that broke out in recent days.

He stressed that during this period the risk is very much increased and urged people to be very cautious, as "even the smallest activity out in the open can cause a fire."

The public, he said, must be vigilant and inform the authorities in case of fire giving the precise location.

He pointed out that the aim is to tackle the fire at its initial stage, especially during these days of prolonged heat and winds.

Meanwhile, the risk of forest fires and their spread will remain at a "red alert" level on Tuesday, the Department of Forests has said.

In a press release, on Monday afternoon, the Department recalls that lighting fires without permission is strictly prohibited and constitutes a criminal offense. According to the Forest Act of 2012, individuals found guilty may face imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine of up to €50,000, or both penalties. Additionally, under the Rural Fires Prevention Act of 1988, offenders may be subject to imprisonment for up to 5 years, a monetary penalty of up to €20,000, or both penalties.

The lighting of fires for preparing food is only permitted in designated barbecue areas.

The public is also urged to exercise the utmost caution during their excursions, avoiding any actions or activities that may potentially cause a fire. This includes refraining from using tools or agricultural machinery that generate heat, sparks, or flames.

Finally, people are urged to call 1407 (Department of Forestry) or 112 (Fire Service) for immediate assistance, in the event they detect smoke or fire.

Cyprus  |  heat  |  fires

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