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Measures to be stepped up amid concern over Akamas fires

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Several fires that erupted over the last two weeks in the Akamas national park area were likely man-made, according to a report compiled by the forestry department, which said the situation is “increasingly worrying.”

Daily Phileleftheros reported on Tuesday that between October 22 and November 7 a total of ten fires were recorded and, within the same time frame, the fire department discovered that those in Inia, Fasli, Droushia, Peyia, Katos Arodes, Androlikou and Pittokopos were intentional.

The forestry department is currently looking at different solutions to take additional protection measures in the area, given also the negative reaction to the government’s Akamas plan.

The report hinted that the people behind the latest alleged intentional fires could be hunters, farmers and livestock breeders.

On the other hand, the report also added that the preventive measures adopted by the forestry department in the last two years have resulted in a reduction in the number of malicious fires.

However, it also said that the recent incidents indicate that additional measures and a stricter cooperation with the police are also required.

To that extent, the agriculture ministry has already reached out to the justice ministry requesting a larger police presence in the Akamas area, as well as more patrols within the park. In addition to that, a new set of rules regulating the circulation of private cars within the park is expected to be issued in the upcoming days.

The forestry department, according to its report, has also sought help from the Game Service in order to catch hunters who illegally set fires in protected areas to frighten them before shooting them.

Finally, the report said that two additional firefighting aircraft were recently moved to an air base in the Paphos district to better respond to potential fires in the Akamas peninsula and national park. The number of thermal cameras in the forest was also recently increased.

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