Businesses Reevaluate Lease Agreements Amid Recent Fire Damage

In the wake of the recent fire disaster between the communities of Polemi and Kourdaka, attention has turned to the critical role of effective preventive strategies. The fire, which erupted on Tuesday, has ravaged eight square kilometers of land, including homes and animal farms. Despite the devastation, no human lives were lost, though several residents were hospitalized for respiratory issues caused by smoke inhalation.

Response and Coordination

Fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis reported that seven aerial firefighting units, including a coordination helicopter, along with ground forces, were deployed to combat the blaze. The Ikarous II contingency plan was activated to facilitate coordinated efforts. Despite the challenging conditions, ground forces remained vigilant, and aircraft continued operations as long as conditions allowed.

The fire in the Ezousa valley area was contained earlier in the day, but flare-ups later necessitated continued aerial support. Six aircraft from Greece and Jordan assisted in the firefighting efforts. Residents from five villages were evacuated, with several homes and livestock structures destroyed or damaged.

Preventive Measures and Community Concerns

The disaster has underscored the need for robust preventive measures. Authorities highlighted that dry wild vegetation and illegal rubbish dumps significantly contributed to the fire’s spread. Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou emphasized the need for responsibility and vigilance among citizens to prevent such incidents. She also mentioned government efforts to deter illegal waste dumping through stricter penalties.

Newly elected Paphos district governor Charalambos Pittokopitis vowed to establish “green points” and mobile waste disposal units in rural areas. Paphos MP Chrysanthos Savvides pointed out that urban flight exacerbates fire risks and called for measures to support agricultural endeavors and restore permanent residency in rural communities.

Community Reactions

Many residents expressed frustration over the perceived delay in deploying firefighting aircraft on Tuesday. Chief fire officer Nikos Logginos explained that fog conditions delayed the deployment of aircraft until 6:30 am on Wednesday, despite their readiness since 5:30 am. The fire’s rapid spread created a “chimney effect,” complicating containment efforts.

Forestry Department director Savva Iezekil detailed the deployment of six aircraft at the height of the blaze, including three planes managed by the forestry department on lease, a Jordanian helicopter stationed in Cyprus, and two Canadairs from Greece. Additionally, around 250 ground forces and 50 service vehicles battled to contain the fire.

The recent disaster has highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive preventive strategies and community cooperation to mitigate future risks. As authorities assess the damage and implement new measures, the resilience and vigilance of the affected communities remain paramount.

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What is the extent of the damage from the fire near Polemi as reported by Andreas Kettis?

According to Andreas Kettis, the fire near Polemi has caused extensive damage, burning through significant tracts of agricultural land and forest. The full extent is still being assessed, but initial reports indicate substantial losses to local farms and wildlife habitats.

Can firefighters prevent the fire near Polemi from damaging more houses and farms?

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