The Forestry Department of Cyprus has accused the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) of being responsible for the summer wildfires in Paphos forest and Palaichori area due to inadequate maintenance and the use of outdated uninsulated wires. The director of the Forestry Department plans to take legal action, emphasizing the need to treat these incidents as criminal cases and highlighting the dangers posed by the EAC’s practices.
Who is responsible for the summer wildfires according to the Forestry Department of Cyprus?
The Forestry Department of Cyprus has accused the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) of being responsible for the summer wildfires in Paphos forest and Palaichori area. Inadequate maintenance and the use of outdated uninsulated wires by the EAC are claimed to have been significant factors in causing the fires.
Accusations from Forestry Department
The Paphos forest and Palaichori area were engulfed by flames this past summer, leading to a serious investigation. The forestry department, after careful examination, has placed responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC). Allegations point to the authority’s oversight in causing what could have been a devastating disaster.
Imminent Legal Action
Charalambos Alexandrou, soon to retire as the Director of the Forestry Department, revealed plans to take legal action. His team is preparing to send a letter to the attorney-general to initiate court proceedings for the two incidents. Alexandrou emphasized the legal obligation to refer these matters as criminal cases, highlighting the numerous smaller incidents also linked to power cables.
Outdated Practices and Hazardous Conditions
Alexandrou criticized the EAC’s continued use of uninsulated wires, especially those that stretch over trees in forestlands. According to him, these practices are not only outdated but downright perilous. The director cited a whopping 17-20 km of overland cables in the area as potential fire starters, capable of ignition from something as minor as a bird’s touch.
The EAC’s Stance
In response, the EAC has maintained that burying electrical cables in forest regions is neither practical nor economically viable. The utility company claims it conducts thorough maintenance of its installations, though it also points out that unforeseen incidents involving wildlife and vegetation are beyond its control.
Searching for Solutions
The debate has prompted the exploration of alternative solutions, such as powering remote forestry stations with off-grid photovoltaic systems. On a visit to the Stavros tis Psokas station by the Cyprus Mail, it was noted that a generator was still in use for energy needs.
A Career Marked by Fire
With 30 years of service, Alexandrou marks the Paphos fire as the worst he’s witnessed in his tenure. His retirement marks the end of a significant era for the Forestry Department, leaving behind a legacy of battling such destructive forces.
About Iole Damaskinos
Iole Damaskinos-Vernhes has dedicated two years to investigative journalism with the Cyprus Mail. When not engaged with current events, she delves into permaculture, and broadens her knowledge in health and archaeology.
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- The Forestry Department of Cyprus has accused the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) of being responsible for the summer wildfires in Paphos forest and Palaichori area due to inadequate maintenance and the use of outdated uninsulated wires.
- The director of the Forestry Department plans to take legal action, emphasizing the need to treat these incidents as criminal cases and highlighting the dangers posed by the EAC’s practices.
- The EAC has defended its position, stating that burying electrical cables in forest regions is not practical or economically viable, and that incidents involving wildlife and vegetation are beyond their control.
- The director of the Forestry Department criticized the EAC’s use of uninsulated wires, citing 17-20 km of overland cables in the area as potential fire starters.
- The debate has led to the exploration of alternative solutions, such as using off-grid photovoltaic systems to power remote forestry stations.