The management of last summer’s fires in Cyprus proved to be one of the most successful ever, according to Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Monday, Kadis said that 2022 turned out to be the best year in terms of forest fire management on the island.
“Actions taken to protect forests have wielded excellent results. The percentage of burnt areas in state forests was the smallest ever recorded since 1960, measuring a total of just 0.4 hectares,” he said.
“In addition to that, the largest fire recorded this year only burnt a total of 3.6 hectares of land.”
Kadis added that the successful results can be linked to the improvement of the operational capacity and staffing of the forestry department, as well as the strengthening of the forest fire response system.
“Over the past year, the government gradually filled almost all the vacancies that were pending in the forestry department while strengthening and modernising both its ground and aerial firefighting fleet,” he said adding that for the first time five planes and seven helicopters contributed to Cyprus’ firefighting efforts this year.
Kadis also urged younger generations to get involved in the protection of the environment.
“Protecting forests contributes to the improvement of the quality of human life and the ecological stability of our planet,” he said.
“The agriculture ministry and the forestry department manage Cyprus’ forests on the basis of the principle of sustainability, and therefore the effective protection of forests and their biodiversity represents a priority.”
He then referred to the controversial plan for the development of the Akamas state forest area.
“The plan, which respects criteria of sustainability, is in its final stages of implementation and it will feature over 40 conservation and nature protection projects,” Kadis said, adding that its final total cost was estimated at around €44 million.
“Part of the plan saw the categorisation of certain areas within the state forests as ‘micro reserves’, meaning they will be even more protected and will not have road access, in order to better protect them.”