The unlicensed felling of trees to fuel Easter bonfires or, lampradjia, is a punishable offence under the law, the forestry department warned on Wednesday.
The department further warned about the elevated risk of fire due to vegetation grass growth and rising temperatures.
“Tree felling requires licensing by the forestry department and unlicensed tree felling is punishable with up to €5000 and or up to one year of imprisonment,” a statement said.
The department calls on local authorities, organised groups, and other members of the public to report tree felling incidents to the forestry department or the police so they can be investigated.
Furthermore, special care should be taken by owners of holiday homes and farmers near forest areas regarding fires, it added.
“The use of fire or other farming tools that produce sparks or fire should be totally avoided and the throwing of cigarette butts or matches in the countryside is prohibited,” the forestry department said.
Lighting fires is not permissible in areas other than the designated cooking areas. Lighting a fire in a state forest or within a 2km radius of one is an offence punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to €50,000.
The department also urges the public not to damage local flora as many species are protected or endangered.
Lastly, anyone who notices smoke or fire in or near a forest should report it the soonest possible at 1407 or 112.