Cyprus Mail

Firefighters and planes sent to help with Israeli fires (Updated)

The four firefighters before they set off from Larnaca

The Cypriot firefighters who have been sent to Israel to assist putting out fires expect to find difficult conditions and high temperatures, Stelios Kotsikas, head of the flight unit of the forestry department told the Cyprus News Agency.

Two aircraft with a crew of two each have now departed and were heading towards Haifa by midday. Another four persons working for the department travelled to Israel earlier in the day in a commercial plane.

There are many scattered fires in various parts of Israel, and the Cyprus team will follow the instructions given by the local authorities when they arrive, Kotsikas said.

“Usually in cases where authorities ask for help, fires have reached a level when there is a lot of activity,” he said.

“We know there will be some degree of difficulty, because we have similar fires in Cyprus that sometimes evolve to reach disastrous proportions.”

Regarding weather conditions, he explained the department was informed in the morning that it is very dry, which is expected to fuel the fires. There are no strong winds for the time being, but this may change in the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to reach 44C in the area.

Head of the forestry department Charalambos Alexandrou earlier said Cyprus was ready to assist the neighbouring country further if asked and another 60 people are on standby.

Israel formally requested Cyprus’ assistance on Thursday evening.



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