Australian aircrafts to aid Cyprus in combating rising wildfire threats

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Australian firefighting aircrafts will be dispatched to Cyprus in the coming weeks to assist rising wildfire threats as announced by Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou on Tuesday, June 4.

Speaking on CyBC radio, Minister Panayiotou stated that four planes will be arriving from Australia and two from Latin America. She also mentioned that there are contacts with neighbouring countries to bring aircraft to Cyprus in case of an emergency.

Ms Panayiotou expressed her gratitude to the firefighters for their efforts in extinguishing recent difficult blazes and addressed concerns about delays in responding to fires.

Agriculture Minister in Cyprus, Maria Panayiotou.

Responding to criticism of the firefighters, the association of firefighters (Sypyk) said, “On the occasion of people’s allegations of obstruction and inconsistency on the part of the Fire Service during the recent fires in the Limassol District and specifically in Ayios Sylas, it expresses its sympathy and support to the victims and underlines that the primary objective and duty of every firefighter in every operation is to save lives and protect the property of citizens.

“In this fire, the adverse conditions prevailing, with strong winds, difficulty in access, scattered garbage, etc., made it humanly impossible for firefighters to operate simultaneously in the entire area where the fire was raging, to extinguish it. During each incident, a risk assessment is carried out so that an operational plan can be drawn up and priorities can be set,” they added.

Sypyk also noted that on a large front, as with the Ayios Sylas fire last week, it was not possible for firefighters to know the exact location of the outbuildings and businesses involved.

Earlier on Tuesday, another fire broke out in the Gerasa area of Limassol, following three fires reported the previous day. Last week, arsonists set a forest fire that burnt five square kilometres.

Source: Cyprus Mail.

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