Cyprus asks Israel for help with massive forest fire (Update 2)

Cyprus asks Israel for help with massive forest fire (Update 2)

21 June 2018

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CYPRUS – Cyprus has asked neighbouring Israel for assistance to put out a huge fire raging in the northwest of the island.

According to fire department spokesman Andreas Kettis, justice minister Ionas Nicolaou late on Thursday asked Israel to assist with the firefighting efforts.

Israel appears to have responded positively to the call for assistance, he added.

Unless Cypriot firefighters were able to contain the situation by first light on Friday, Israel was expected to dispatch three firefighting aircraft.

The blaze broke out in a forest area near Pano Pyrgos, in the Tyllyria area in the northwest of the island.

It began around 6.30pm near Ayia Paraskevi. The causes are as yet unknown.

Efforts to put out the fire were being hampered by the difficult terrain and strong winds.

Several helicopters ran water drops up until nightfall, while on the ground personnel from the fire department and the forestry department were deployed.

“It’s going to be a long night,” the spokesman for the forestry department told the state broadcaster.

Approximately half of the forestry department personnel were engaged in the firefighting efforts.

Reports said a forest park ranger sustained burns and was taken to the Pyrgos Tyllyrias hospital for treatment.

The main front was rapidly spreading eastward, toward the areas controlled by the breakaway regime.

Firefighters from the north were likewise placed on standby.

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