Greek Cypriots accept Turkey’s offer to help fight Troodos fire

The Greek Cypriot administration on Tuesday, accepted Turkey’s offer to provide assistance for the wildfire in the Troodos mountains, located on southwest of the island’s capital, Nicosia.

Four villages have been evacuated as a result of the fire and two firefighters have died.

The Ministry of Forestry had earlier said that Turkey is ready to provide help to fight the fire in Cyprus, upon Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s instructions.

Two helicopters in Anamur and Silifke and an aircraft in Antalya are set to be dispatched to Cyprus to extinguish the fire, the ministry said.

The fire, possibly started by an attempt to burn dry stubble, broke out on Sunday in the foothills of the Troodos mountain region of the eastern Mediterranean island.

It has been fanned by high winds and scorching temperatures, hampering efforts by firefighters backed by water bomber aircraft from Greece and Israel and helicopters from the British military bases in Cyprus. French and Italian air support was also expected on the island later on Tuesday.

A Reuters witness said lush pine forest was reduced to blackened stumps as aircraft dumped red dry fire extinguisher over flames, followed by helicopters equipped with ‘rainmaker’ buckets.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades asked for a postponement of a meeting scheduled with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, part of a series of talks focused on reunification.

President Akıncı also offered assistance, but Anastasiades declined, saying there were enough assets available.

Meanwhile, Cyprus Weekly reports that an official of the South’s Forestry Department has urgently called for volunteers to help firefighters tackle the fires still raging up on Troodos.

Speaking to state radio, Forestry Department Spokesperson Andreas Christou said the fires in Asinou and Kannavia are still out of control and have now made a turn towards several villages including that of Ayia Irini.

Daily Sabah, Cyprus Weekly

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