The Department of Forests on Thursday announced the start of the consultation period for new legislation amending current laws, which would see more severe sanctions for starting wildfires.

The consultation period ends March 8. All stakeholders and interested parties, as well as any member of the public, may submit remarks on the bill via the e-consultation platform (

Among other things, the bill will distinguish between risk crimes and crimes with an outcome – where a fire has actually taken place and caused damage.

The new proposed sanctions for risking causing a fire are five years in jail or fine up to €25,000, or both.

For actually starting a fire, the new penalties will be ten years in jail or a fine up to €50,000, or both.

The bill also includes a clause authorising the relevant authority to issue regulations governing the setup and operation of volunteer firefighting groups.

According to information online, last year in Cyprus 1,919 hectares were burned by wildfires – a drop from 2,540 hectares in 2022. In 2021 – the worst year by far – an area of 6,199 hectares was burned by wildfires. The previous year wildfires had burned 3,421 hectares.