Fires In Georgia

Massive Fire in Borjomi Gorge On-Going for Two Days, Over 12 Hectares of Land Burnt

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Photo: საქართველოს მთავრობა

A fire in the village of Daba in the Borjomi municipality that started in the afternoon of August 20 has burnt more than a dozen hectares of land in the area, according to information from the National Forestry Agency.

The Emergency Management Agency, which works under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, issued a statement on August 21 that the fire was localized. Due to strong winds, however, a fire in the same area then restarted.

More than 500 firefighters, 100 forest guards, 500 employees of the MIA’s Special Tasks Department and three helicopters are at the scene now still trying to put out the fire. Fire liquidation works were carried out throughout the whole night yesterday. Prime Minister Kvirikashvili arrived in Borjomi yesterday late at night.

The Emergency Management Agency stated on August 21 that putting out the initial fire was difficult because of the complex landscape of the Borjomi Gorge. At the time, five hectares of the land was already burnt.

The National Environment Agency had stated in the morning of August 21 that high winds were expected by the end of the day.

The Emergency Management Agency said they hoped that the fire would be fully liquidated by the end of the day on August 21, and they therefore did not proceed with other measures.

Azerbaijan sent a helicopter on August 21 to help put out the fire after it continued spreading with the winds.

The helicopters stopped work at some point in the evening because of “bad visibility, smoke and strong wind,” as recommended by specialists.

At 22:00 at night on August 21, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili established a special command with the aim of putting out the fire. Kvirikashvili stated that both Turkey and Azerbaijan are helping with helicopters to put out the fire.

The special command issued an official statement today stating that “after the full liquidation of the fire, employees of the National Forestry Agency will be on duty during several days to examine the territory in detail. After we will find out the exact damage on the environment and we’ll plan the following actions.”

During the 2008 August War, Russia burnt 950 hectares of forest in Borjomi, in a fire which continued for several weeks. The social campaign “Agadgine/Restore” was initiated in Georgia, within which 30,000 trees were planted. Many of those trees were burnt during yesterday’s fire.

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