Four people have been killed as fire raged on for a second day in Cyprus. The blaze is believed to be the worst on record in the small country by Greece.
The blaze, fanned by strong winds has burned 19 square miles, destroying several homes in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range.
Cyprus’ Ministry of Forestry owns a Thrush 550 and an Air Tractor AT-802 that have been fighting the flames, recently assisted by two AT-802s provided on contract by Air Tractor Europe. “We have an exclusive use contract with Cypress each year for the 6 month period between May and November through 2023” said Hugo Arceo from Air Tractor Europe. Those aircraft have recently been joined by two Greek CL415s while the 802’s have been flying missions for 10 hours a day since the fires began said European Air Tractor.
“We are experiencing the most destructive fire since the founding of the Cyprus republic in both material damage, but also unfortunately in terms of human lives,” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday.
Nouris said firefighting aircraft and ground crews are focusing their efforts on two massive fire fronts between the villages of Odou and Vavatsinia. He said authorities are “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll make progress in beating back the flames, but strong wings expected later in the day could hamper efforts.