Fire Services and police officials are said to be concerned after recent figures showed that one in five fires recorded this year are due to arson.
According to statistics of the Cyprus Fire Services, the eye-catching results mean that 21.98% of all 8,605 blazes throughout the island for 2013 alone were due to criminal acts.
Last year also saw the highest number of fires recorded in Cyprus in the last six years.
Arson ranked second after negligence – usually through the common farming practice of crop burning – the biggest cause for fires according to fire services officials.
Some of the cases of arson recorded last year include the torching of a nightclub owner’s car back in November. The blaze, which was started while the car was parked in the basement of the victim’s apartment building, also damaged a motorbike and another two vehicles parked close by.
The most cases of arson recorded in a single place were at the Nicosia Horse Racing Club where police and firemen were called to six incidents all later established to have been cases of criminal behaviour. No arrests have yet to be made in connection with the attacks.
Villagers from Deneia were left concerned and baffled after two different fires broke out at around the same time and which caused extensive damage to properties and fields in January.
But last year’s fire incidents have been the highest number in the last six years (6505 in 2008, 5716 in 2009, 7166 in 2010, 7264 in 2011 and 6799 in 2012) although it is likely that those increases may have been largely attributed to weather abnormalities.
Fire incidents last year increased sharply between October and December and according to figures from meteorologists in Cyprus, the longest warm spell was from between October and December, constituting just over 40 consecutive days with warmer than average high temperatures.
The month of February had the largest number of warmer than average days with 100% of them higher than average high temperatures.
Mid-August saw temperatures hit their highest in 2013 with Nicosia hitting heights of over 40°C while August was also the hottest month of the year.
Relative to the average, the hottest days were in May where another sharp increase in fires were recorded while in relative terms the warmest month was November, with temperatures around two to three degrees hotter than normal.