Early afternoon on Saturday the 3rd of July, a fire started in the village of Arakapas in Limassol, Cyprus. On the following day it was confirmed that four people died and more than 50 houses were destroyed. An estimated area of 50 sq km of vegetation and forestation were burned in just a few hours. The affected areas are: Arakapas, Melini, Ora, Odou, Sykopetra, Eptagonia, Ayioi Vavatsinias, and Vavatsinia.
It is the worst forest fire in the history of Cyprus - Director of the Department of Forests Charalambos Alexandrou
The Copernicus satellite was activated to track the blaze. We downloaded the latest mapped event (2021-07-03 14:00 Local Time) from the Copernicus emergency website (EMSR515: Fire in Cyprus) and used CityLite to overlay it on the map. We are attaching a geojson file that was converted using QGIS.
Is tracking the disaster enough?
No, looking at the aftermath of such an event it can only provide us with enough information to better our decisions in preventing future disasters and helping the people in need now.
What can be done to prevent this in the future?
To prevent human loses, properties and forestation we need to strengthen the capabilities of the Department of Forest and raise public awareness as well us trained volunteering. Our biggest suggestion to the community, prior to the event of such wildfires, is to get trained as volunteers to monitor and report, and with the appropriate firefighting equipment, to limit the disaster from an early stage.