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Progress reported in handling of Limnitis blaze (Update 4)

fire in the north limnitis

The fire in occupied Limnitis eased slightly late on Friday, according to the head of the Forestry Department, Charalambos Alexandrou.

Alexandrou told CyBC radio that the fire has not yet been brought under control, but things are in much better condition.

Earlier in the day, authorities in the north requested assistance to put out the blaze that started on Friday afternoon.

The Cna late on Friday reported that President Nikos Christodoulides immediately gave instructions for a positive response to the assistance requested due to the fire in Limnitis.

Reliable sources told Cna, “we were asked for help through the negotiator and the President of the Republic immediately gave instructions for a positive response.”

The government contributed with a firefighting plane and a helicopter, and it is expected that in the morning there will be an update on whether help will be needed tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, the north’s ‘agriculture minister’, Dursun Oguz said the task of extinguishing the fire was difficult.

According to Bayrak, Oguz described a difficult situation prevailing both east and south of Limnitis. Bayrak reported that the winds have made the work of “firefighters” difficult.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that the special representative of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, Ergyun Olgun, contacted the Greek Cypriot side for the provision of a firefighting aircraft.

“The first response to the fire was by the helicopter of the command of the security forces, the forestry department, the fire service and the teams of the Civil Defence Organisation, while as a result of the initiatives undertaken, a firefighting helicopter from Turkey will operate,” Tatar said.

Trucks from Lefka and Morphou are also in the area fighting the fire.

Commenting on the fire, Alexandrou said that they had sent one plane, and that it had made its first flyover and water drop.

He added that the situation is very difficult and that the blaze is out of control.

Alexandrou said that the department has also offered to send ground forces to the area, but that they are awaiting the response from the Turkish Cypriot side.

Regarding the path of the fire and if it can reach the state-controlled areas, Alexandrou said that so far there is no danger of the fire spreading in that direction, as the wind is blowing it further along the north.

For his part, ‘undersecretary of the Prime Minister’, Huseyin Cahitoglu, said the fire continued, scattered in seven or eight different places in the Limnitis area. According to him, intervention is difficult due to the steep and high location of the fire. “The necessary measures were taken in the area to prevent the spread of the fire”.

Oguz said that currently there is one helicopter in the air from the security forces battling the blaze, and that one from the British bases has been requested, and another is one the way from Turkey.

He added that the goal is to limit the spread of the fire and stop it before nightfall.

However, he said the conditions are very difficult.

“The fire spread very quickly. It has covered an area of 700 square metres and is heading south,” he said.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ‘ambassador’ to the occupied territories, Metin Feyzioglu, said that three Turkish helicopters will operate to extinguish the fire. One is already in the area. Another has arrived in the occupied areas from Antalya and is preparing to begin the work of extinguishing. A helicopter from Adana is also scheduled to arrive in the occupied areas.

For his part, the ‘mayor’ of Lefka Aziz Kaya said that the cause of the fire is unclear.


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