Cyprus to get two Spanish firefighting planes

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Cyprus authorities are building up the island’s firefighting capacity ahead of the hot summer months, with Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis announcing the employment of two planes from Spain.

In comments to state radio CyBC, Kadis said his ministry is in advanced negotiations to supply additional aircraft.

He said two firefighting planes from Spain are expected to arrive in Cyprus soon.

The ministry is also in contact with Brussels to get the green light to use two Russian-owned firefighting helicopters it leases every year.

During the past two years, Cyprus leased a pair of Kamov helicopters, but due to the EU sanctions on Russia, the company was not allowed to submit a new tender.

Kadis said Cyprus is basing its argument on the security of the country.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, the recruitment process of about 110 forest firefighters will be completed within the week to strengthen firefighting capabilities.

Cyprus is heading for another hot summer with scorching temperatures just a year after living through one of the worst wildfires.

On July 3 last year, Cypriots experienced the largest-ever wildfire in living memory, which claimed the lives of four farm workers.

The fire, described as the worst since independence in 1960, destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses, damaged power lines and forced the evacuation of ten villages in the mountainous areas of Limassol and Larnaca.

Four Egyptian farmhands died trying to escape the village of Odos, where they worked on a tomato plantation.