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18 July, 2024
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Wildfire ignites resident anger and blame game

Delayed response and illegal dumping fuel outcry amidst blaze devastation


Residents' anger simmered over delayed aircraft response during Tuesday's fire outbreak in the Polemi-Psathi area, coupled with authorities' failure to curb illegal dumping, which likely sparked the blaze. As dawn broke on Wednesday, we ventured into the scorched landscapes of Polemi, Psathi, and Agios Dimitrianos. From the vantage points of Choulou and the Lemona mountains, where aerial resources began operating at 6:30 a.m., we witnessed active fire hotspots.

According to a report by Pavlos Neophytos, scenes of destruction in Polemi and Psathi were unbelievable: a house consumed by flames, fields scorched with trees and vines. The aftermath in Psathi was particularly poignant, with charred homes standing as stark reminders of the devastation wrought by the fire.

Concerns mounted over uncleared roads, exacerbating the problem of illegal dumping. A resident we encountered near his orchard between Polemio and Psathi, where he had fought to save his shed overnight, voiced frustration at public works and community councils for neglecting road maintenance.

Additionally, criticism was directed at the choice of water source for firefighting aircraft, with residents questioning the decision to draw water from the Mavrokolympos Dam instead of the nearby Kannavio dam.

"15 days ago, the fire started from the same illegal Polemio dump site that started yesterday. What did the community council do? Further up there's another illegal dump.  Everyone knew who were dumping rubbish there and they did not report anyone," the resident lamented.

Community leader Dimitris Dionysiou of Agios Dimitrianos underscored the urgent need for improved response times and proactive measures to tackle illegal dumping. "This is the first time a fire of this magnitude has happened. The problem has to do with the delay in arrival of the fire-fighting aircraft. Illegal dumping sites are a big problem," Dionysiou emphasized.

See pictures and video below:


Dimitris Dionysiou, Community leader of Agios Dimitrianos

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  wildfire  |  heatwave

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