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Forestry Department clearing forest roads in countdown to summer

April 8, 2019 at 12:06pm
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The Forestry Department is in a race against time to clean up forest roads damaged by the heavy rains of the past few months to ensure they are accessible to fire trucks during the summer.

Forestry Department head Charalambos Alexandrou told Phileleftheros that district heads have met to discuss the situation.

He said that acting on instructions from President Nicos Anastasiades, the department is looking at what measures it can take as the heavy rains have created a new situation.

The high risk period for forest fires usually starts on May 1, even though the situation is fluid. “We have started repairing forest roads at a low altitude and by the end of May all the roads as far as Saittas, Platania, Panagia and more generally all areas at a high altitude must be cleared,” he said.

He said that the issue of creating fire breakers in private property had been discussed in parliament and a relevant document submitted to the Law Office of the Republic for review.

Based on what has been agreed, the department will be given the right, under conditions, to create fire breakers by pruning trees and clearing vegetation, even in private property.

Alexandrou said that just because vegetation was in private property this did not mean that it should be left untouched, as when there is a fire, the department needs to intervene.

“We need to be able to intervene in advance as a precaution to protect not only state forests but private property surrounded by these forests,” he said.

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