Ypsonas fire kills farm animals, causes widespread damage

A large fire in Ypsonas which broke out on Saturday afternoon, burning approximately half a square kilometre of vegetation, killing farm animals and destroying cars, was brought under control by the evening.

Fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis said the fire started near Limassol general hospital but the hospital and nearby residential areas were quickly made secure from the flames.

“We are face-to-face with an environmental and property catastrophe,” Fire Service chief Marcos Trangolas said of the blaze, which burnt animal farms including rabbits, chickens, dogs and bee hives.

Kettis said that brigade members and two aircraft would remain on guard throughout the night, due to the chance of flare-ups which could be caused by the strong winds.

After the fire broke out, the ‘Icarus’ plan was immediately enacted, and eight aircraft were called in to put out the blaze.

Two helicopters belonging to the government, one belonging to the police, one to the National Guard, and two planes from the Forestry Department battled the fire. Two helicopters were also provided by the British bases.

Fire brigades from Paphos and the Nicosia HQ were also called in to help.

The fire had three fronts, Kettis said, with the north-eastern front having given the firefighters the most difficulty, due to the winds.

According to the spokesman, the cause of the fire was being investigated, and there were suspicions that it was caused by a mowing machine.

Trangolas cautioned the public to be mindful of their actions.

“Due to the weather conditions in our area, we have said early on that we would have a very difficult summer.”

Police also confirmed that there was an investigation underway.