A fire which broke out earlier in the afternoon at Panagra (Geçitköy) is now largely under control, while crews continued to work intensively on extinguishing the blaze, authorities in the north said.
Citing information given by a police press officer, Turkish Cypriot media outlet Bayrak reported that the fire was largely under control.
“In places, the burning continues. Extinguishing and cooling works continue from land and air,” Bayrak reported on its website.
Meanwhile, sparks from electric cables in the Panagara area appear to be what caused the fires to break out in three different places, according to the ‘Prime Minister’, Unal Ustel, Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.
The Kipris Post website reported that one person had been injured after they reportedly fainted due to smoke inhalation and was reportedly given first aid by a rescue team at the scene.
Ustel said that a helicopter and a fire-fighting plane from Turkey and an SBA helicopter from the British Bases are currently operating from the air, adding that, another helicopter from Turkey was also expected.
Earlier, people were being evacuated from their homes near Kormakitis due to the ongoing and out of control fire which broke out earlier in the afternoon at Panagra.
Lapithos ‘mayor’ Mustafa Aktuy told local media that the fire broke out at three different points and spread very quickly. Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and other key players are at the scene, observing firefighting efforts.
‘Agriculture minister’ Dursun Oyuz announced that two helicopters are expected to arrive from Turkey within the hour while a UN helicopter will also provide assistance.
Across the divide, the Cyprus News Agency CNA reported that the Republic is on standby to provide assistance should the north request it. It was reported that aerial support can be given should the Republic be asked, but that so far no such move has been made.
Later in the day it was reported that a helicopter from the British bases also arrived on scene
Oyuz added that the direction of the wind led the fire to spread onto further fronts, endangering a nearby army unit.
Key sections of the Kyrenia-Morphou and Panagra to Vasilia roads have been closed due to the smoke but also to secure ease of access for emergency vehicles.
According to Bayrak, one person who participated in the extinguishing efforts was injured in the fire and the cooling works are still continuing; three houses were also damaged.
An area of about a thousand acres of trees and shrubs burned in the fire, according to initial estimates.