Cyprus Mail

Fire in Ora-Vavatsinia under partial control (Update 2)

(Photo CM archives)

A fire that was raging out of control since 3.30pm in the area of Ora, Larnaca, heading toward Vavatsinia village, was placed under partial control late on Wednesday, the Fire Service announced.

According to spokesman Andreas Kettis, the effort to extinguish the blaze has thus far engaged some 20 vehicles – “over thirteen” from the fire service, five from the Forestry Department, one from the Game Fund, and another from the Civil Defence – and even a group of volunteers.

Seven aircraft were also conducting water drops until nightfall, though on-the-ground efforts continued late into the night.

The bushfire burnt through approximately three square kilometres of wild foliage, pine trees and olive trees, while reports said an isolated holiday home was consumed by the flames, though the owner faced no danger.

The firefighting effort was severely complicated by issues of accessibility due to the rough terrain and weather conditions, particularly the strong winds prevalent in the area.

“We all know what the terrain is like there,” Kettis told state broadcaster CyBC.

“Unfortunately, the vehicles are having a hard time moving as fast as the fire is spreading.”

However, Kettis added, the fire service remained optimistic that the fire would soon be placed under control.

“The north-eastern front is still out of control,” he said.

“But we’ve managed to contain the rest and are trying to get to that one, too.”

The fire has posed no hazard to nearby residential areas, Kettis confirmed, but “even if it does, response plans are in place for every contingency, including evacuation”.

According to initial reports, the fire was started by a power generator running in the area.

Shortly before 8pm, Interior minister Constantinos Petrides and the ministry’s permanent secretary Kypros Kyprianou rushed to the area to be “personally briefed on and assess the situation”.

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