North Cyprus is on high alert following the devastating forest fires in Rhodes and other Greek islands.
Known as the “Green Island
The country has long been known as the “Green Island,” or Yeşilada, of the eastern Mediterranean, because of its thick covering of pine trees. But the beauty of the mountains also holds a fire threat as temperatures rise above 40 degrees in high summer. Fortunately, the inferno has mostly been kept at bay.
The worst fire in living memory was in 1995
The worst fire in living memory was in 1995, when more than 160 square kilometres of beautiful forest and olive groves between Lapta in the west and Beşparmak to the east were burnt to ash. No one was killed, but the disaster prompted a major reassessment of the country’s fire-fighting and civil defence capabilities.
Massive replanting scheme
A massive replanting scheme helped to restore the hillsides, but the re-greening continues to this day.
Since then, the most damaging conflagration was in 2020. Acres of historic “monumental” olive trees were destroyed before the flames were brought under control.
Delivery of a special fire-fighting helicopter
The TRNC has just taken delivery of a special fire-fighting helicopter to tackle any future outbreaks but we should remember; most forest fires are caused by humans, either intentionally by burning and arson, or sheer carelessness, such as barbecues, discarded cigarette butts or water bottles that can catch the sunlight and spark a blaze, so please, let’s all be extra careful while enjoying the shade of the North Cyprus hills in summer.