The forestry department will remain on forest fires red alert readiness ‘for as long as it takes’, it said today in a statement, due to the particularly dry and hot summer experienced in the Eastern Mediterranean and more so the protracted heatwave over the past couple of weeks.
A Red Alert warning on forest fires breaking out and spreading has been in place since yesterday, with an appeal to the public to exercise the utmost caution and be vigilant during its excursions.
The forestry department warns that even the slightest spark can lead to fire therefore people should avoid any actions or activities that might pose such a risk, as well as cooperate with the department if they should see anything.
It’s calling on everyone to consider the trail of destruction that the massive Arakapas fire left in its wake in the first weekend of July.
Burning dry weeds, branches and garbage is prohibited, while use of tools or agriculture machinery that produce sparks or a flame, such as welding, should be avoided in open areas.
The forestry department further points out that quite a number of fires have been caused by people throwing out cigarette butts out of cars or disposing of them while in the countryside.
People should also take preventive measures to prevent fires from electric generators or water pumps in open areas, clearing out any dry weeds around them and keeping their exhaust pipes in good condition.
Lighting a fire without permission is a criminal offence punishable by a ten year imprisonment, a 50 thousand euro fine, or both.
Fires are only allowed at designated picnic areas barbecues.
Anyone who sees smoke or fire near or in a forest should call 1407 (forestry department) or 112 (the fire service).