Cyprus Mail

Over 450 fires seen in last two weeks

file photo

There have been 476 fires in the past two weeks alone, 450 of them in rural areas, fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis said on Tuesday.

He said the total number of fires in May so far was 590, while in the same month last year 693 fires raged, 461 in the countryside and 232 in urban areas.

Asked about the causes of the fires of the last 15 days and whether they were accidental, the spokesman said that for the fire service “there are no accidental fires”.

“The percentage of random fires is very small and in order for an accidental fire to happen there must be a lot of special conditions happening together,” he said.

“There is human activity behind every fire and this can be moves people make out of negligence, reckless movements, or malicious ones. Neither do strong winds create fires but they favour them, nor do temperatures create fires, they just favour them.”

A spark is needed to create a fire, and this can be a cigarette butt, deliberate burning, the use of metal cutting tools or cooking on excursions, among other things.

Over the summer, the fire service cooperates with the forestry department, the Game Fund, the civil defence, police and organised volunteer groups.

All rural stations and observation posts have been manned.

At the same time, daily patrols carried out at peak hours are increasing, while there is also a programme by the department of forests to carry out air patrols.

“The people and their behaviour have the last word,” Kettis added, “no matter how hard we try.”

In recent years there has been an increase in awareness.

“Several people have already been brought before the court by police, many have been questioned, while there are already three arrests this year, and this is due to public assistance,” he concluded.

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