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Four dead as ‘most destructive’ Cyprus forest fire continues to rage for second day – Eagles Vine

NICOSIA: Four people were found dead as a huge fire raged for a second day in Cyprus, razing tracts of forest in a blaze one official called the worst on record.
The blaze, fanned by strong winds, affected at least 10 communities over an area of 50 square kilometres (19 square miles) in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range, an area of pine forest and densely vegetated shrubland.
The victims, thought to be Egyptian nationals, were found dead close to the community of Odou, a mountainous community north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca.
“All indications point to it being the four persons who were missing since yesterday,” interior minister Nicos Nouris said.
“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,” Nouris said.
“It is a tragedy,” President Nicos Anastasiades said on Twitter, describing it as “the largest fire since 1974” when the island was divided after Turkey occupied its northern third.
The EU’s executive, the European Commission, said fire-fighting planes had departed from Greece to battle the fire and Italy was also planning to deploy aerial firefighters.
The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite was also activated to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas, the Commission said in a statement.
“It is the worst forest fire in the history of Cyprus,” Forestries Department Director Charalambos Alexandrou said.
Attempts were being made to prevent the blaze from crossing the mountains and stop it before reaching Machairas, a pine forestland and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.
The cause of the fire, which started around midday on Saturday, was unclear. Cyprus experiences high temperatures in the summer months, with temperatures in recent days exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Police said a 67-year-old man faces arson charges. A court ordered that he remains in custody for eight days to assist in the investigation into the cause of the fire.


timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Times of India

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper and digital news media owned and managed by The Times Group. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, it is ranked 9th in the world by circulation and 3rd in India.

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