Fires in both urban and rural areas have increased by 4.19 per cent in the years 2017 and 2018 compared with previous years, according to statistics released by the fire services on Friday.
The increase was much higher in rural areas than in non-rural ones.
“In 2018, the percentage of rural fires increased by 11.38 per cent, while the month of April shows an increase of 75.96 per cent due to Easter and the custom of lambradjia with the unnecessary burning of objects in open spaces,” an announcement said.
In rural areas 92 per cent of fires were caused by people, as were more than 90 per cent in urban areas.
The number of rural fires from May 1 until end of November was 2285 in 2017, while it was 2567 in the same period a year later, an increase of 12.34 per cent.
This is attributed to various factors, especially drought but also arson which has increased in recent years.
An area of 15.1 square kilometres was burnt in the countryside, 5.03 more than the year before. This was partly down to the rise in the number of fires, but also because many were in terrain which was difficult to access.
In 2018 total losses amounted to € 7,440,397 million, slightly less than the year before, where the amount was € 7,507,860 million.
According to the announcement, the fire services last year responded to 11,956 calls for assistance related to fires, special services, false calls and ambulance calls.
They also rescued people who were involved in fires, road accidents and work accidents and were trapped in defective lifts, collapsed buildings, in cliffs and other places.