The fires that broke out in Limassol’s Ayios Sylas and Ayios Therapondas on Friday were without a doubt an arson attack, fire services chief Nikos Longinos said on Saturday.

The first fire in Ayios Sylas began at 4pm on Friday, and burned some five square kilometres of land.

“The place where the fire began could not have been accidental, not even with a cigarette stub.

“It is clear someone wanted the fire to spread and destroy, and they did it,” Longinos told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Two small businesses were burned to the ground in the area – a woodcutting shop and a factory next door which had wooden pallets.

On Saturday, President Nikos Christodoulides thanked Jordan for its immediate response to Cyprus’ request for help, deploying aircraft.

He underlined however that over 90 per cent of fires are caused by human error. “We must be twice as careful. We all have a responsibility.”

Longinos said the fire which broke out in Ayios Therapondas on Friday evening was also an arson attack.

“We are worried and are in touch with police and state authorities.

“Measures to deal with the situation have already been decided on,” he added without revealing details.

Longinos said the strong winds made the fight extremely difficult.

Our goal was to protect homes and save lives and we did it. We also managed to stop the fire moving towards Palodia.”

Fire services will remain in the area near Ayios Sylas to deal with any potential reignitions.

On Friday, three aircraft were called in to join the fight – two helicopters from Jordan and one forestry department aircraft.

Additionally, 10 fire trucks were on the scene, some of which had come from Larnaca, Paphos and Nicosia.

Roads were temporarily closed for safety reasons.