The use of drones by the forestry department is set to be stepped up further after their introduction in August to monitor areas at the risk of fire, its head Charalambos Alexandrou said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Alexandrou said drones are “valuable tools in the context of utilising modern technologies to enhance the existing forest fire management system implemented by the forestry department.”

Last month, the forestry department signed an agreement for the provision of drones.

The agreement was signed between the department and the CARE-C Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the period 2022 to 2025.

The contract also provides for the use of drones at operational level, namely as decision-making tools in extinguishing ongoing forest fires since they provide the possibility of real-time image transmission, even at night.

They will also be used to map burnt areas faster after the fire has been put out.

“An important aspect to consider is the fact, that through this cooperation, the forestry department ensures continuous technological support and upgrading of systems to address the risk of forest fires,” Alexandrou said.

He added that the use of drones is regulated according to existing schedules, but that emergencies take priority, as the tools provide a real-time picture and help the department in locating burnt areas in a short time.