HIT BY SEVENTY FIRES
By KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
Former Forestry department head, Altay Fırat, told Cyprus Today that the Tepebaşı-Kalkanlı forest fire alone was the second biggest ever recorded in TRNC history . It gutted 7,500 dönüms (5 hectares). In total, 11,500 dönüms of woodland has turned into ashes.
The Beşparmak mountain fire of June 1995 destroyed 8,303 hectares in a three day inferno.
Agricultural and Natural Resources Minister Dursun Oğuz, speaking after observing the catastrophe from a helicopter this week, said: “The two fires between Koruçam – Akdeniz and Tepebaşı – Kalkanlı have been effective ( in their destruction). Many of the fires are unfortunately caused due by cigarette butts on road sides.”
On Tuesday, there was panic after a fire broke out at the nearby cafe belonging to Hüseyin Dayı near St Hilarion above Girne, due to what police said was an electricity short circuit.
A police statement said that the fire broke out on Tuesday at 2.30am – in the storage part of the cafe where furniture was destroyed, including wooden doors and panels, kitchen cupboards, wooden arbour and various gift items.
Two outbtreaks in Kalecik on Tuesday saw fire fighters battling blazes just 500m apart.
Mr Oğuz described the area as “critical” for the TRNC because it houses the AKSA electricity plant.
On the same day, another fire broke out in Altınova – a village in the İskele district – which saw 500 dönüms of land destroyed, police said. Villagers were quick to respond with their tractors as fire emergency services arrived on the scene to save olive and carob trees.