The European Union deployed aircraft aid on Saturday to assist Cyprus in putting out a massive forest fire burning north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca, which one official described as the worst on record.
Strong winds fanned the wildfire, which impacted at least six settlements in the Troodos mountain range’s foothills, an area of pine forest and heavily overgrown shrubland.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said firefighting planes had left Greece to battle the blaze, and Italy was going to send in aerial firefighters as well.
The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite was also activated, according to the Commission, to provide damage assessment maps of the impacted areas.
Attempts were undertaken to keep the fire from traversing the mountains and putting it out before it reached Machairas, a pine forest and one of Cyprus’ highest peaks.
Hundreds of properties were damaged, but no one was hurt. In the neighborhood, there were extensive power outages. Smoke plumes could be seen 75 kilometers (45 miles) distant in Nicosia, the capital.
Officials claimed that, in addition to Greece’s two planes, Israel would also be able to assist.
According to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s statement, Israel has approved Nicosia’s request for assistance and would dispatch firefighting planes to Cyprus on Sunday.
The source of the fire, which broke out at noon, was unknown. This week, Cyprus has been hit by a heatwave, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). In connection with the fire, police said they were questioning a 67-year-old man.