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23 August, 2019
 
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Officials step up efforts against fires

Human action caused weekend fires in Pyrgos and Cape Greco

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Cypriot and European authorities are on the lookout for new wildfire threats, as two local fires on Saturday, one in the northwest and one in the southeast, were caused by human action.

In the aftermath of the horrific Greek wildfires, officials are stepping up their efforts to coordinate response plans more effectively.

Local officials are increasing their efforts to warn the public of elevated fire risks due to climate change, while the European Commission is accelerating its “rescEU” system to tackle natural disasters.

Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, took to Twitter to issue a warning that current plans are not a match for new fire threats.

“Simultaneous disasters show that current system has reached its limits,” Stylianides wrote on Twitter.

The commissioner also said he was pleased to see EU member states taking a position on “rescEU,” an ambitious plan announced last year aimed at strengthening European response capacities and stepping up disaster prevention and preparedness.

The plan targets member states both collectively and individually, requiring governments to share their national prevention and preparedness strategies in an effort to identify and address possible gaps.

Cypriot officials have recently employed the use of unmanned drones in the forestry department, which could boost the success rate in early spotting that can have an impact on responding to fires.

A wildfire broke out in the Tilliria region in the northwest around 1:30pm, near Pigenia and Pyrgos, which burned for two hours before fire fighters were able to contain it.

Authorities are investigating the cause of fire while local reports sugget it was started by men who were trying to use fire during work related activities but it got out of control due to strong winds and high temperatures.

The fire was spotted immediately by a Forest department drone patrolling the skies over Troodos Mountains.

The fire was spotted immediately by a Forest department drone patrolling the skies over Troodos Mountains

A total of 10 hectares were burned down during the fire, which was on private land covered with cedar trees, cultivated crops, and wild vegetation.

A dozen fire engines from the forest department and heavy equipment were used in the operation, including two earthmovers, while two fire fighting airplanes and three helicopters also took action.

Two fire trucks from the fire department were also called for assistance, while residents in the area also volunteered to help.

Another fire broke out later in the day in Kermia around 6:45pm in the Cape Greco area.

Approximately 200 square metres of wild vegetation on private land were burned down during the fire.

It reportedly took one fire truck and one fire department official to put the fire out in just 15 minutes.

According to Kathimerini, the brief fire ignited from a cigarette butt that was thrown in the area.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  fire  |  Tilliria  |  Cape Greco  |  Greece  |  drone  |  rescEU

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