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Cyprus

Firefighting exercise Hephestus tests readiness

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Firefighting exercise Hephestus 2022, part of Forest Protection week, took place on Friday and aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the state’s entire forest firefighting system.

The exercise included a response scenario to an uncontrollable and raging forest fire around Macheras mountains, involved the activation of ‘Ikaros 2’ plan and the engagement of the Republic’s aerial firefighting means in their entirety, including among others, the forestry department, the fire brigade, civil defence, the national guard, the search and rescue coordination centre as well as two Israeli firefighting aircrafts.

“Hephestus 2022 gives the opportunity to verify the operational readiness of the services and agencies involved and tasked with responding to real incidents of forest fires,” said Agriculture Minister Kostas Kadis addressing the attendees.

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The minister expressed the significance of the country’s forests and the state’s readiness in forest firefighting.

“Forests are of great value to our country as they make the backbone of the natural environment and also enhance the economic, environmental, social and cultural development of our country,” the minister said.

“As far as this year’s fire season is concerned, all relevant state services are in full operational readiness,” he added.

Kadis further addressed the issue of the state’s limited aircraft capacity.

“Despite the difficulties resulting from Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, I want to assure you that the ministry is taking all necessary action in securing additional firefighting aircrafts. Very soon, the Republic will have at its disposal the necessary number of primary aircrafts as per our plans,” the minister said.

Attending the exercise, among others, was the ambassador of Jordan to Cyprus, the commissioner for the environment and representatives from civil aviation, the defence ministry the UN and the British Bases.

 

 

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