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Intense investigation to find perpetrators of large Saturday fire (updated)

Intensive investigations are being carried out by the Paphos police to find the arsonists behind the large fire on Saturday in the area of Kouklia, Archimandrita, Orites, Mousere and Dora, the force said on Sunday.

According to police, they have witnesses that saw two cars moving around in the area in the early hours of Saturday suspiciously and they are now trying to establish if there is any link between them and the fire.

The driver of one vehicle has been apprehended and said he had nothing to do with the fire while the driver of the second is still being sought.

The fire destroyed 5km² of land, three of which were national forest.

Firefighters remain in the area in case the fire reignites.

The fire was finally extinguished at 7.20 on Saturday evening, the forestry department announced on Sunday.

A total of 190 people and 32 fire trucks of the forestry department were needed to put out the flames in addition to 35 firemen and 15 vehicles of the fire service; and 30 people and 5 vehicles of the civil defence in addition to two people and one fire truck and five bulldozers of the Game Fund and officers of the Paphos police force plus volunteers.

To fight the fire from the air, the Icarus plan was also put into action which involved ten aircraft including planes and helicopters of the police, the British bases and the national guard.

Director of the forestry department Charalambos Alexandrou said the team needed to put out the fire was the largest ever used in Cyprus because of the length of its front.

The cause of the fire has been confirmed to be arson.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis on Saturday evening praised all of those involved for their “superhuman efforts”.

He said it was difficult to believe that “there was a human hand that set fires a length of 20km”. He expressed the hope the police would find those responsible.

The area was visited on Sunday by Disy leader Averof Neophytou. He said it was unbelievable the arsonists would put in danger not only the forest and the beauty of nature but also the lives of those living there.

The forestry department also reiterated on Sunday that private vehicles are not allowed within the forest areas from Sunday August 9 to Monday August 17 between the hours of 8pm and 5am without a good reason.

Neophytou speaking to a resident after the fire


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