The situation regarding the fire in the area of Alassa is “progressing really well”, according to fire brigade chief Nicos Longinos.

He said the fire was brought under control after a flareup on Monday after the wind dropped. However, the front is constantly changing.

The fire, which burned up to 10 square kilometres of land, had initially been brought under control early Monday morning, and roads had reopened and evacuated residents been returned to their homes, but flared up again later in the day.

Longinos added that the fire brigade is fully prepared and has been constantly present and operational in the area hit by the fire since Friday, and said that the national fire action plans are being followed “to the letter”.

“Sometimes the conditions are such that no matter how hard you try, they do not allow you to do what you want,” he said, responding to criticism regarding the flareup shortly after the original blaze had been dealt with.

“The point is that we are successfully dealing with all the incidents so far, without any human losses.”

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar telephoned President Nikos Christodoulides and offered vehicles and personnel, but the offer was later refused.

Further helping out with the fire fighting effort, “powerful” firefighting forces are set to depart from Israel for the Limassol area on Monday evening.

The forces include members of the Israeli army and police as part of the country’s “wings of fire” operation.

The equipment includes two Air Tractor firefighting aircraft with a crew of four pilots, as well as specially trained ground personnel. They are accompanied by six tons of operational material provided by the Israeli fire brigade.

Greece had earlier dispatched two Canadair firefighting aircraft to help with the effort but they were both grounded in Paphos after one experienced a mechanical failure, as they can only work in pairs.

Greece has also dispatched of 20 tons of retardant fluid to Cyprus.

Earlier, Forestry department director Charalambos Alexandrou said the fire had been brought “under control”.

He still urged caution, saying “things are quiet now, but its perimeter is large and a lot of attention is needed.”

He also said that in the event of further flareups, such as the one that occurred on Monday morning, things can become more difficult as those fighting the fire have already put in long hours of work.

On Monday morning, House president Annita Demetriou said all the country’s services are working in coordination to put out the fire after it rekindled that morning.

“Everyone involved in the efforts to put out the fire is making superhuman efforts and deserves congratulations,” Demetriou, who is also currently the acting president of the Republic, said.

She added that many volunteers are also helping firefighters battle the blaze, noting that an evaluation of the damages will need to be conducted once the danger is over.

“The evaluation of the damage will not only concern properties, but also the environment. We need to take everything into account.

Later in the day, Limassol district officer Marios Alexandrou confirmed that the fire completely destroyed a house in Apsiou, as well as a warehouse. Both properties were, fortunately, empty. Two parked cars were also burned by the fire.

Alexandrou added that another empty house and a dog shelter in the village of Paramytha also suffered extensive damages.

On Monday morning ground and aerial firefighting restarted efforts to extinguish the fire after it rekindled in the area of Apaisia.

The main fire had been contained and fire breaks and access routes were being carved out for ground forces to continue efforts to contain flareups.

Forces were continually monitoring the fire’s perimeter and ground and air forces are dealing constantly with flareups, mainly on the northwest side.

“The fire service’s efforts throughout the night were aimed at preventing the blaze from damaging further properties,” Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos told the media from the coordination centre in Apsiou.

“Water air drops are constantly being carried out to finally extinguish the fire.”

First estimates on Monday of the damages caused by the fire that raged this weekend put the burned area at 7.5 to 10 square kilometres.

Reinforcements from Lebanon were also expected but after developments overnight were cancelled.

The EU’s crisis commissioner Janez Lenarcic said after an appeal by Cyprus the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism was activated.

Evacuees from three villages who had been removed from their homes as a precaution on Sunday and stayed at a nearby community centre have returned.

According to Limassol police spokesman Lefteris Kyriacou it appears the initial fire spread from burning rubbish at the side of the road and the precise cause of that fire is being investigated.

Electricity has been restored to several communities which were out of power following the burning down of electricity poles, according to the electricity authority (EAC) website.

Three helicopters from Jordan restarted airdrops at dawn.


Following a flareup between the communities of Korfi, Alassa and Apaisia, the fire continued to rage out of control on Sunday night. Despite no winds in the area the smoke reached as far as Limassol city.

Earlier on Sunday, the villages of Apsiou, Mathikoloni and subsequently Apaisia, were evacuated and the evacuees housed in the Limnatis community centre.

Authorities at midnight convened a broad meeting chaired by Demetriou.

The meeting, held at a coordination centre set up in the area between the communities of Paramytha and Fasoula, was attended by the ministers of justice and agriculture, the heads of the fire service, the forestry department and all other relevant services.

Firefighting forces were working intensely and the fire had been divided into sectors in cooperation with the forestry department during the night.

Police and fire service authorities had identified the fire’s ‘ground zero’ but were still examining CCTV footage to determine precisely what set-off the blaze in a pile of rubbish on Friday.

Hundreds of firefighters and others, including volunteers, have been battling since the fire’s start to manage the blaze with dozens of road vehicles and twelve aircraft.