The forestry department on Monday called on people active in the Akamas such as shepherds and hunters to avoid lighting fires after a blaze in a ravine close to the state forest was fanned by strong winds, requiring a large number of engines to contain it.

According to the director of the forestry department Charalambos Alexandrou, the fire broke out at around 11.30am and due to the strong winds, it spread rapidly.

Alexandrou told state broadcaster CyBC that a large number of engines were sent to the area and the crews were able to contain much of the blaze around an hour and a half later.

He said the fire was close to the state forest but the wind turned it in the direction of Neo Chorio. He also said some animal farms had been at risk.

According to Alexandrou it seems the blaze was set on purpose.

He said that during this season they usually see fires set by shepherds, farmers, or hunters “to serve their own purpose.”

Alexandrou called on people not to light fires. He gave as an example the possibility of shepherds setting areas on fire to clear them so they can be used in the future for grazing purposes.