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Cyprus needs to modernize systems to combat forest fires

Cyprus needs to modernize systems to combat forest fires

18 2018 June
Tags: Cyprus, Fire, Wood, Incidents

Auditor General of Cyprus Odysseas Michaelidis gave the green light to the Ministry of Justice for the creation of a mobile coordination group, which requires 700 000 euro. Minister of Justice Jonas Nikolaou said that the unit is necessary to coordinate efforts to combat major fires. So, its employees will be able to track how the fire spreads, and fire brigades will receive instructions via GPS and interactive maps.

The need for additional coordination of actions became clear after the forest fire in the Solea, Troodos region, in 2016. It has become one of the most disastrous in recent years. The fire destroyed more than 15 square kilometers of pine forest. Two firefighters were killed.

Also, two years ago, by decision of the Ministry of Justice, an independent expert commission was set up to develop new tactics to combat fires. It is expected that in the near future the independent body will issue recommendations on the purchase of an additional aircraft for the island's fire services. According to experts, the island has enough helicopters to cover the needs of firefighting, but the lack of an airplane can lead to a repeat of the 2016 scenario.

Today in Cyprus there are four police helicopters that can be used for fire fighting, as well as two Russian "Kamov" helicopters, leased. Also firefighters help two helicopters of the National Guard. The only operating aircraft belongs to the Department of Forestry. The tragic fire in the Solea region demonstrated that firefighters that can drop large amounts of water into the extinguishing zone are necessary. According to InCyprus sources, the commission is ready to recommend to Cyprus the acquisition or leasing of one or two additional aircraft.

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