Forestry Department Chief Pilot praises working relationship with British Bases
Defence Redefined
Published on 06/10/2021 at 11:00

Last week, Stelios Kotzikas, Chief Pilot of the Republic of Cyprus Forestry Department’s Aerial Firefighting Means, paid tribute to the working relationship with the British Bases that dates back to 1983. 

Speaking at the Akrotiri Environmental Centre prior to delivering a presentation on aerial firefighting, Mr. Kotzikas was also keen on highlighting the importance of having aircraft permanently stationed at RAF Akrotiri since 2006.

He explained: “The cooperation between the RoC and the Bases with regards to fire incidents began in 1983 when a RAF helicopter was sent to combat a fire in Cyprus. 

Since then, the cooperation has been upgraded and become stronger, covering mutual assistance between the two in order to fight wildfires that break out every year across the island. Joint training is also carried out.

“Since 2006, the Forestry Department’s Aerial Firefighting Unit has operated from RAF Akrotiri in order to support the aircraft’s firefighting missions in Limassol District.  RAF Akrotiri provides support to the aircraft with fuel and ground support equipment and the Control Tower assists the aircraft operationally.”

Also read: European Commission | Equipment Procurement Program for Civil Protection

He also pointed to the significant upgrades made at RAF Akrotiri to support these efforts. “In 2020, the Forestry Department Firefighting Unit established new, modern equipment, so as to load the planes with water, foam, and retardant, making RAF Akrotiri a firefighting air tanker base that can be used by light and medium aircraft in aerial firefighting missions,” he said. 

‘’We also have two Air Tractor 8032F aircraft on standby, which means two aircraft at RAF Akrotiri, two in Larnaca, and two helicopters in Paphos often operate from Akrotiri in order to fight fires all over the island.” And the presence of the aircraft, he believes, is of huge benefit to both the RoC and the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs).

“All these aircraft are a great asset for the SBAs, as there is an agreement that in case of a fire within the SBAs, they will immediately take off to fight the fires. 

Both the Bases and the RoC Fire Departments work together on firefighting, life, livestock, and property saving and together they form a great team that serves people and the environment in the best way possible.”

The presentation itself, which was attended by the public and officials from the Division of Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS) of the British Bases and the 84th Squadron helicopter crew, also provided advice on fire prevention.

Source: Forestry Department

Also read: European Commission | Modernization Program on Civil Protection Equipment\




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