The increased rainfall that we had during the past winter has led to a significant vegetation growth throughout Cyprus, which already presents a significant risk as the vegetation rapidly dries out due to the sudden, as every year, temperature increase.
In Cyprus we don’t have the same degree of wildland/urban interface (WUI) as other countries; USA, Australia, Siberia etc. but the consequences in case of a mega fire occurring, may lead to devastating results considering the size of the island.
Last year we have been spared from significant fires but bearing in mind the unpredictable behavior of wildfires with images and reports that we’ve seen and read across the globe with Australia been the latest, I cannot but to be increasingly worried.
The last few years we have all witnessed the destructive nature of high-volume wildfires; Australia, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Amazon, California, Siberia and others.
Climate change is increasingly affecting the way that wildfires are developed and spread.
It is of paramount importance that firefighters and in particular, the Incident Commanders (ICs) are provided with all the necessary knowledge and training in order for them to be able to recognize and interpret the behavior of the fire and take all the appropriate actions at an early stage.
Previous experience and pattern recognition are highly valuable but any actions taken without taking into consideration the evidence gathered from other fires and the scientific approach may just be insufficient.
The last few years a lot of attention has been given to the aerial means of fire suppression and purely understandably, as the majority of wildfires are taking place in isolated inaccessible areas but have we forgot our ground forces?
It is my personal opinion that, a pan-island rapid intervention ground firefighting team is formed, in order to provide the first form of immediate ground attack.
This specialized team is to be provided with all the necessary means, such as training and equipment in order to be able to contain and suppress a wildland fire at an early stage.
All of the above represent the views of the undersigned and is a matter open for discussion amongst fire and risk professionals.
GIFireE | MIIRSM | MInstLM