NewsLocalOn board with the RAF fighting fires in Cyprus - (video)

On board with the RAF fighting fires in Cyprus – (video) published a video showing RAF personnel participating in the firefighting exercise “Ifestos” that took place in Kakopetria last week.

Two Griffin helicopters from 84 Squadron and aircraft from the Republic of Cyprus participated in the exercise which tested fighting a major forest fire using aircraft and other firefighting equipment.

Leader of 84 Squadron Helicopter Search and Rescue Ross Alan said: “‘84 Squadron are excited to be able to train alongside colleagues from the Republic of Cyprus Fire Service, Forestry Department, 460 Squadron National Guard and the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit.

“Gaining a better understanding of key working practices and developing relationships between all those involved is to the benefit of saving lives and protecting the local population.”

According to Director of the Forestry Department Charalambos Alexandrou there were 136 wildfires in forests in 2018, which burned 1,036 hectares of land. The number of wildfires in 2018 was up by 80% compared to the average annual  number for the period 2000-2017.

The Forestry Department said that people are to blame for 90% of forest fires.

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