AKEL: 8 proposals on forest fires
9th July 2021, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
The recent fires have demonstrated the need to define a central overall policy for combating fires and other natural disasters, both with regards their prevention and extinction, but above all a methodology for the rehabilitation of burnt affected areas.
Forests and agricultural land are an invaluable natural resource, especially for Cyprus and the particularly adverse effects on the natural and human-made environment and on the activities of mountain and rural populations can be combated to a considerable extent by the assumption of the appropriate management measures of a technical and economic nature in burnt areas.
In addition to the direct compensation that the state must provide to those affected by the devastating fires, AKEL proposes the following:
1. State services with forest firefighters, staff, machinery, fire engines, fire-fighting vehicles and planes must be strengthened, together with increasing the number of seasonal firefighters of the Forestry Department, the Fire Brigade and the Game and Fauna Service,
2. The Forestry College should operate again based on news plans to meet the needs of today and the future,
3. Local communities must be provided with fire-fighting trucks with proper training of those responsible for their use, as well as the ensuring the training of volunteer groups.
4. Anti-erosion and flood protection works must be constructed, especially in the cases where built-up areas or human-made activities are threatened. The construction of works and projects to protect the soil from erosion and prevent the creation of geological landslides and flooding is a priority.
5. The fire went as far as within the boundaries of the drinking water dams of Germasoyia and Kalavaso, which is a matter of concern as the impact of the effects of fires on water has already proved to be disastrous in many cases and therefore preventive measures must be taken to avoid overflow of water.
6. Preservation of soil fertility (management and harvesting of burnt wood debris)
7. Regeneration of plant cover and conservation of fauna by restoring – repairing the ecosystem in terms of vegetation and agricultural land.
8. Establishment of a team of experts – scientists for the management of Environmental Disasters and crises in connection with Civil Defence.
The above proposals constitute good practices for the post-fire management at the landscape level and will contribute towards reducing the subsequent fire risk. The state must take immediate action to prevent such events from recurring.