The forestry department on Thursday said the recent spate of devastating wildfires that have ravaged Cyprus over the past days must serve as a wakeup call for collective reflection and exemplary action.

“The dire situation demands that we exercise utmost caution during our outings and avoid any activities that could potentially spark a blaze,” a forestry department statement said.

“As the August 15 holiday period beckons, we want to ensure that everyone enjoys their time outside.

“For that to be possible, we call on everyone to respect the sanctity of nature and the environment by refraining from littering and lighting fires.”

The department said that the recent fires should both concern and force people to exercise prudence during their ventures.

“To achieve this, it is imperative that we foster close collaboration with forestry department officers and other relevant services, such as the Fire Service and the police,” the statement added.

It also reminded of the strict penalties for igniting fires within forests and rural areas, an action that could be punished with up to ten years in jail, with fines of up to €50,000, or both.

The department also called on owners of holiday homes to exercise caution when using charcoal for cooking purposes and to refrain from lighting fires with wood.

Moreover, it also discouraged the use of cutting and welding tools near dry vegetation, “as the sparks they produce remain a prime cause of forest fires in recent years.”

“In these dangerous times, the call for heightened vigilance and responsible behaviour echoes throughout the Cypriot wilderness, a plea for unity to safeguard the natural wonders that grace our land,” the statement concluded.