By Lizzy Ioannidou
Konnos bay in Protaras was declared a fire hazard by Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pyrillis on Monday because It has only a single entrance and exit route which could trap visitors if a fire broke out.
He said it was an area of high risk because of the dense vegetation surrounding it and the extreme weather conditions that can occur. The single route leading to and from the beach means visitors have no escape route while the fire brigade has no alternate access route.
Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos said he was in complete agreement with Pyrillis and was working with the him on this issue.
“We have been raising this issue in many conferences since 2013, and while some noteworthy measures have been taken by the forestry department, an alternate route for both visitors of the beach and the fire brigade is still extremely necessary,” said Pyrillis.
He said that the forestry department has already placed 29 fire trucks in the area which serve to protect the Cape Greco national park, while they are also conducting regular road clearings to ensure accessibility, but this will not be enough in case of a fire at Konnos Bay.
“We plan to build a large parking area on the top of the hill, from where visitors can access the beach by a stairway or by teleferic [aerial tramway] and to create other access routes for service vehicles,” said Karousos.
He added that these plans are still pending authorisation from a number of departments, while funding will also be required before works can begin.
“Alternate routes have not been made yet for environmental reasons such as the particularity of the landscape of Konnos Bay. We will raise the issue again in a conference in September,” said Pyrillis.
These concerns come after a fire in Kermia, Cape Greco, just five minutes away from Konnos Bay by car, which burnt around 200m2 of private land in just 15 minutes on Saturday, due to the low shrubs and extreme weather conditions that characterise the area.