Summer Heat Brings Potential For Major Fire Disaster

North Cyprus News - Forest fire

Thursday, 13  July 2023

It has been more than a year since the great Mersinlik fire, but the coalition government has not learnt from this disastrous fire, Yeniduzen writes. 

The firefighting helicopter has still not been deployed from Turkey despite promises made in June to that effect by the Agricultural Minister Dursun Oğuz.

Yeniduzen fears that as it is now mid-July, the country is left undefended against a potentially catastrophic fire.

Director of the Forestry Department Salih Güneş told Yeniduzen that the helicopter would arrive shortly and last year, firefighting equipment had been attached to a helicopter belonging to the Security Forces Command to fight the Mersinlik fire. “We already have a helicopter”, he said.

Acres of forest areas have been burnt down in the last three years

Yeniduzen notes that forest fires that broke out in North Cyprus for a variety of reasons, especially in the last three years, have burnt thousands of acres of land and killed hundreds of wild animals. The fact that no fire helicopter was stationed in the country on any of the days of the fires in question was another noteworthy factor.

North Cyprus News - Kantara Fire
[Fire Damage – Kantara June 2022]
Major Fires in Last Three Years

17 May 2020: Tepebaşı-Kalkanlı fire: 973 acres burnt

27 May 2022: Geçitköy fire: 1000 acres burnt

21 June 2022: Mersinlik fire: 5,000- 5,500 acres burnt

1 October 2022: Ağırdağ fire: 300 acres burnt

5 May 2023: Yeşilırmak fire: 400 acres burnt

Director of the Forestry Department Salih Güneş told Yeniduzen that the next 12-13 days starting from today are very important.

He said that all Forestry Department teams and equipment are ready for a possible fire, 

Güneş warned citizens not to light fires. Responding to the question about the fire helicopter, Güneş said, “In last year’s Mersinlik fire, a helicopter belonging to the Security Forces Command was retro-fitted with the necessary apparatus. The helicopter in question is already standing by. We can use it in case of a fire. Apart from that, we have requested a firefighting helicopter from Turkey to be stationed here. It will arrive in our country in the coming days. The helicopter will be stationed in our country until the end of summer”, he said.

Meanwhile, Co-Director of the Forestry Department Cemil Karzaoğlu, said that the Forestry Department is always ready with its teams, equipment and roads against a possible fire and asked the question, “Is the Forestry Department ready, but are other state institutions ready against fire?” Stating that no lessons were learnt after the Mersinlik fire, Karzaoğlu said, “Kıb-Tek should regularly maintain the power lines. Municipalities should clean the roadsides, rubbish should be cleared especially in forest areas. We see that unfortunately none of these have been done. The fire helicopter is of course important, but unless such infrastructures are organised, having a fire helicopter alone is useless. A fire helicopter does not extinguish fire, it only creates the opportunity to extinguish the fire. Therefore, we need to make all our infrastructure ready to prevent a possible fire before it is too late...”

Member of the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Forest Engineers Ercan Poyraz, stated that meteorological data in recent days indicate that fires can break out at any time, and said that teams have been established to intervene in fires and that a significant part of the forest roads have been opened.

He said that small fires broke out almost every day, but had been extinguished before they spread.

Recalling that fires had broken out in Güngör and other rubbish dumps, Poyraz stated that if the fires in garbage dumps spread to the forests, it could lead to major disasters and said, “We always ignore this issue. Then we feel sorry when a big disaster occurs. It is very important to take timely measures in this regard“.

He also warned citizens to be careful and reminded that even the smallest error can lead to a big disaster.


Other Stories

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ad Blocker Detected

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by whitelisting our website in your ad blocker.

Powered By
Best Wordpress Adblock Detecting Plugin | CHP Adblock