Limassol fire delineated at 8.5 sq km, situation subject to change ministers say

The fire in Limassol district has been contained but there are some reignitions and water is being dropped with aerial means, said Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Minister Petros Xenophontos on Monday, adding that the burnt land area has been estimated at 8.5 square kilometres.

He also referred to the dispatch of two Canadair aircraft from Greece to assist in the firefighting efforts, while warning that there is still a risk of reignitions due to the winds that are expected, adding that “we will remain here at all times so that we can deal with any potential reignitions.”

Asked whether yesterday’s major rekindle in Alassa was due to mishandling, he said the issue will be the subject of a meeting with all authorities involved after the fire is extinguished, adding that “clearly we are concerned, but at that time, as I have been informed, there was a lot of wind intensity.”

We need to be careful in our predictions because the situation is subject to change at any moment, Minister of Justice and Public Order Anna Koukkides Procopiou said in her statements at the Fire Brigade coordination centre in Paramytha.

The Minister commended the efforts by the people of the Fire Service and the Forestry Department and noted that during the night the Forestry Department was constantly operating to delineate the fire at the slope of Apsiou, expressing hope for positive results.

She also said there was a inspection helicopter flight where the operational officers and the chief fire officer, Andreas Gregoriou, who has the general coordination on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Department, surveyed the area.

Koukkides Procopiou added that weather conditions changed earlier than expected, hence there were the reignitions “which we are now managing with the means of the Republic of Cyprus and with the help of countries that have sent us immediate assistance. At the moment, Greek and Jordanian aircraft are operating along with ours”.

Responding to a question, the Justice Minister said that the affected area yesterday was around 10 km. “It was difficult to control, but we managed to do so and the effort was made during the night. I hope it is limited here because you realize that we cannot be sure how the situation will develop,” she added.

All services are coordinating to extinguish the fire, acting President of the Republic and President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou said on Monday at the coordination centre in Paramytha, while expressing hope that there wouldn’t be any additional reignitions.

“They are all here and are making superhuman efforts, they deserve congratulations. It takes patience, not many words from us and most importantly we need support as much as we can all these people on the front line,” Demetriou said, noting that an assessment will then have to be made “because it is not only the destruction of property and how the whole situation came about, but also the environmental disaster that has to be taken into account.”