A huge wildfire in rural Nicosia was contained by Thursday morning after a difficult operation overnight, with officials saying the blaze was not the result of a malicious act but an investigation is still pending.
Local media said a fire started Wednesday afternoon shortly before 3pm in Ayia Marina Xyliatou, in the foothills of Troodos Mountains in Nicosia district.
Due to strong winds, the fire spread far and wide with officials saying the perimeter reached 6 kilometers, moving east towards the Alona-Platanistasa road and reaching a forest station right across the Panayia bridge.
Specific agricultural activitiy under investigation
Forest official Charalambos Alexandrou said at the very beginning that the fire was not the result of a malicious act, adding that a specific agricultural activitiy in the area would be a focus in the investigation.
“The fire started from a side ditch along the road and the exact causes are still under investigation,” Alexandrou said.
Approximately 300 hectares of vegetation and farmland have been destroyed by the fire, while over two dozen fire engines from the forestry department were joined by an additional number of fire trucks from the Fire Department and other agencies, along with crawler excavators, and tankers.
A total of 9 planes and helicopters including two choppers from the British Bases took part in the operation, which was being coordinated by the National Guard.
Alexandrou urged the public to be extra careful with any activities that may start a fire, especially now as temperatures rise and winds are picking up.
Local media said 80 hectares of Adelphi state park were also affected by the blaze.