Over 80 homes destroyed in huge wildfire

1474 views
3 mins read

At least 80 homes were destroyed during the island’s worst-ever forest fire, with the cost of the destruction running into millions of euros.

The devastating fire that started in the Limassol village of Arakapas claimed the lives of four people and burned more than 55 sq. km of forest land, homes, and properties.

Initial estimates say 80 homes and properties in the ten fire-effected villages were destroyed as the fire raged across mountainous areas in the districts of Limassol and Larnaca.

According to officials, most damaged houses are in the Larnaca district, where around 60 homes were damaged.

The most losses were recorded in the Larnaca village of Ora, where 37 houses were destroyed.

In Limassol, 15 houses were burnt in the village of Melini, 4 in Agioi Vavatsinias and 2 in Vavatsinia.

Another ten homes were destroyed in Arakapas, where the fire had started, and another 11 in Eptagonia.

A poultry farm in Larnaca was burnt to the ground, along with its 80,000 chickens.

The estimated cost of the disaster is expected to rise once damage to trees, crops and the island’s electricity network is calculated.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis on Tuesday visited villages affected by the fire, reaffirming the government will support farmers affected by the weekend blaze.

“We are here to see for ourselves the damages our farmers have suffered and to send them the message that the government is by their side,” Kadis said.

The fire claimed the lives of four land workers, leaving behind it a charred landscape spanning 55 square kilometres, which included houses, businesses, vehicles, pine forest, crops.

Cyprus’ worst-ever fire broke out in the village of Arakapas in Limassol at around 1.50 pm on Saturday, thought to be started by a farmer burning dead vegetation.

A 67-year-old is in police custody for suspected arson after he was witnessed leaving his field in Arakapas as the fire started.

Fanned by strong winds reaching up to 7 Beaufort and tinder-dry conditions, the Arakapas wildfire spread out of control, with Cyprus calling for assistance from Greece and Israel.

The fire in Arakapas follows the 2016 fire in Solea, Troodos, which had claimed the lives of two firefighters and destroyed a forest area covering 18 square km.