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Cyprus

Akamas arson destroyed 70 hectares of forest

The EU funds were supposed to be for a forest fire detection project

The seven separate fires caused by arson in the Akamas area on Wednesday burned a total of 70 hectares of pine trees, shrubs and wild vegetation before they were brought under control, the forestry department announced on Thursday.

The first fire broke out at 7.30am in Lara, another one in the Akamas forest at 9.44am, followed by others in Drinia at 9.57am, Polemi at 12.27pm, Melamiou-Ayios Demetrianos at 12.37pm, Droushia at 12.42pm and Letymbou at 12.50pm.

They were under full control by 7pm.

Head of the forestry department Charalambos Alexandrou said on Wednesday that the fires were caused by an arson attack, the perpetrators of which he called senseless.

Authorities were forced to launch the Icarus plan used for big fires which involves the use of all available resources.

A total of 165 people from the forestry department, 30 fire trucks and eight aircraft were deployed, belonging to the forestry department, the government, the British Bases and the national guard.

During the night firefighters and equipment remained in the area to prevent a flare up.

The agriculture ministry said it would not be deterred by actions aimed at sabotaging the protection of the environmentally sensitive forest area.

In a separate incident police arrested a 58-year-old man in connection with a further fire that broke out in the Paphos district on Wednesday afternoon. He was later remanded for four days.

The fire which started in a rural area between the villages of Kritou Marottou and Fyti at 2.10pm burned about 1,000 square metres of wild vegetation and dry grass before it was extinguished.

The suspect was arrested because evidence pointed to his involvement in the incident.

 

 



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