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Alassa dam fire under control, serious flare-ups remain (Update 3)

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Alassa dam fire under control, serious flare-ups remain
By Nikolaos Prakas

A fire near the Alassa dam in Limassol that came close to homes in nearby villages has been extinguished, while firefighting forces remained in the area to deal with flare-ups, authorities said on Saturday.

Aerial firefighting operations resumed in the morning to extinguish the fire that broke out on Friday in an area between the villages of Apesia, Korfi and Paramytha in the Limassol district.

Forces on the ground were battling all night to bring the fire under control. Helicopters from Jordan are supporting the firefighting operations.

According to the fire department, around 2.5 to 3 square kilometres of dry grass and wild brush were burned.

The fire broke out on Friday shortly before 2.00 pm and threatened dozens of homes. The authorities evacuated some citizens for precautionary reasons.

Speaking to CyBC on Saturday, the Director of the Forestry Department, Charalambos Alexandrou said that the blaze had been brought under control.

He added that strong ground and air forces remain in the area for any flare-ups.

Also commenting on social media, Fire Services Spokesman Andreas Kettis that ground forces are in the area, and wherever flare-ups occur they respond.

Three Jordanian helicopters have been operating since 10am to completely put out the fire accompanied by a helicopter of the Cyprus National Guard.

According to Kettis, Israeli aircraft will not be called in to help.

In the afternoon, Kettis reported that there was a serious flare-up in the Alassa area, and that the aircraft were headed there to deal with the issue.

Meanwhile, Limassol police were working to find the causes of the large fire that left behind a large area of burnt land and property damage.

A team of Limassol police went on Saturday to the area of the villages of Alassa, Apaisia, Korfi and Paramytha and located the spot where the fire started.

At the same time, crews from the district administration recorded the damages.

In his statements at the point where the large fire seems to have started, on the Limassol-Alassa Road, the Limassol police spokesman Lefteris Kyriakou said that an investigative team has been set up with officers from central Limassol and the rural police stations in collaboration with the fire service, to investigate the circumstances under which the fire was caused.

“At the moment no possibility can be ruled out. The point where the fire started has been identified. It is on the side of the road on the Troodos-Limassol Road, an on-site examination is being carried out. We have received footage to identify exactly what has happened,” he said.

As he said – in his statements earlier today – the fire has been brought under complete control destroying trees and wild vegetation “in an area of 3.5 square kilometres”.

Crews from the district administration have gone to the fire-stricken area in the morning to record the damage. According to the district administrator of Limassol, Marios Alexandrou, by midday damage has been recorded to the interior of a house in the village of Apaisia, while a livestock property has been destroyed south of the community, on the border with the village of Paramytha. The owner of the livestock estate was advised to report to the district agriculture department for further advice.

Meanwhile, another fire broke out in Sylikou, Paphos, which Kettis said was manageable. He said that eight trucks were in the area dealing with the blaze along with an excavator.

Kettis added that aircraft, three planes and two helicopters, were also helping to battle the blaze in Sylikou.

Another fire that broke out in Paphos district also on Friday was extinguished around midnight. It burnt an area of approximately 75 hectares.

Kettis said in a post on X – the platform formerly known as Twitter – that the causes of the fire are being investigated in coordination with the police.

Commenting, Government Spokesman Konstatinos Letymbiotis said that the assistance of aircraft from Jordan and the immediate response from Israel highlight the importance that a “Regional Forest Fire Fighting Centre” will have in terms of the immediate, timely and effective response to fires in the area.

The creation of this centre was discussed during President Nikos Christodoulides’ recent trip to Jordan.

“A regional centre based in Cyprus will make a decisive contribution to dealing with fires in an area which, due to the climate conditions, is at a high risk,” he said.

Letymbiotis also thanked the neighbouring countries for their help and response to dealing with the blaze.

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