The island’s emergency services will confirm their readiness when it comes to battling fires during a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, interior minister Nicos Nouris said.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday after an EOKA memorial service, Nouris said that during Monday’s meeting “we will express our readiness to tackle fires to the President” during which all parties will present their plans to avoid any unforeseen problems.
The firefighting season officially started on May 1 and it will likely last until the end of October.
According to fire brigade spokesman Andreas Kettis, authorities noticed a sharp increase in the number of urban fires last year. He said that around 90 per cent of fires, both in rural and in urban areas, are man-made, adding that in 2021 there was a 20 per cent increase in the number of urban fires and a 6.5 per cent decrease as far as rural fires are concerned.
Nouris added that all services dealing with fires – which includes the Fire Brigade, Forestry Department, Interior Ministry and the Civil Defence are all prepared in anticipation.
The island’s fire brigade can now rely on two brand new drones to better monitor and assess potential fires in remote areas.
Nouris concluded that it is likely that a short period of time will be needed to adapt and implement any new decisions that may be taken following tomorrow’s meeting.
Last July, a huge fire in Arakapas killed four men and destroyed some 55 square kilometres of forest, cultivations, homes, and other property.
In the immediate aftermath of the Arakapas fire, President Nicos Anastasiades instructed the fire department to conduct a study on a holistic approach to monitoring rural and forest areas for a timely detection of fires.