Ninety per cent of the Paphos forest has been closed off from public access due to extreme fire risk, Forestry Department Director, Charalambos Alexandrou announced on Friday.
“We are always at our battle stations during the summer season but today we are literally with our fingers poised above the trigger,” Alexandrou told the CyBC, expressing the state of extreme readiness and hyper vigilance of the various services due to the prevailing heatwave.
Alexandrou noted that the main mountain arteries from Kykkos Monastery to Stavros tis Psokas, and Lysos to Stavros tis Psokas, were currently still open but all secondary roads are closed to the public in an effort to curtail chances of fires set by human activity.
Even forestry department clearance works have been halted due to the high danger from heat emission of tools and the soaring levels of humidity, the director said.
All stations and observatories are manned, and drones are also being used to keep utmost vigilance.
“We don’t have the numbers we would ideally like to have, but we are doing everything we can within the scope of our means,” Alaxandrou said.
Meanwhile, already in the community of Kalo Chorio Klirou, a fire was dealt with, caused by sparks from electricity wires.
Alexandrou noted the frustration felt by the fire prevention services over incidents caused by lack of maintenance of infrastructure by the electricity authority (EAC).
“For 15 years we have been working to get the EAC to take on their share of the responsibility for fires caused by lack of maintenance,” Alexandrou said, adding that in the US this is a matter of course.
Alexandrou did not confirm whether the Kalo Chorio fire, which he said happened near a military camp by Pharmakas, was caused by naked wires, a surge, or other electrical fault.