Cyprus — Cyprus was being ravaged by one of the worst forestfires in decades yesterday, razing holiday homes and forcing the evacuation ofhundreds of people from its scenic mountains.
The blaze, fanned by strong winds and a scorching heatwave, spread rapidly,sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky, visible from the capital, Nicosia,about 30 miles away. Witnesses said mountains were burning on the pine-coveredTroodos range – one of the most scenic areas of the holiday island, which isfamed for its medieval chapels.
“We want whoever can use a shovel up here,” local MP YiannakisThoma said.
Agriculture minister Photis Photiou said: “This is a terrible situation.We are trying to get help from other countries.” Air units from Britishmilitary bases and UN contingents in Cyprus were helping to fight the fires.Planes were expected from Italy yesterday and from Israel today. At least twovillages were evacuated
Other fires have raged as the eastern Mediterranean continues to suffer aheat wave. On Thursday dozens of fires raged across central and southern Greecekilling two people and burning scores of homes.