Official: Hope for Taming Huge Cyprus Forest Fire

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -
A police helicopter drops water in efforts to contain a huge forest fire that continues to rage out of control for a third day in the mountainous areas southwest of Cyprus' capital Nicosia Tuesday, June 21, 2016. The fire has claimed the lives of two fire fighters. More planes from Italy and France are expected later Tuesday to join 16 other aircraft from Greece, Israel, Cyprus and British forces stationed on two military bases on the east Mediterranean island in battling the fire. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou )
A police helicopter drops water in efforts to contain a huge forest fire that continues to rage out of control for a third day in the mountainous areas southwest of Cyprus’ capital Nicosia Tuesday. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou )

A Cypriot official says there’s a glimmer of hope that firefighters can contain one of the nation’s worst forest fires, as many fronts are now under control.

Forestry Department Spokesman Andreas Christou says high winds which have made firefighting difficult in the mountainous terrain appeared to have died down Wednesday.

This could help crews and 20 aircraft from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Israel and Britain corral the blaze that has burned more than 15 square kilometers of a 150-year-old pine forest and claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Christou said a call has been made for experienced volunteers to bolster the hundreds of firefighters on the scene.

He said crews are focused on a major front currently threatening a pair of villages some 25 miles southwest of Nicosia.