Firefighters, Turkish Planes Battle Blaze in Southern Georgia

Firefighters, Turkish Planes Battle Blaze in Southern Georgia

16 August 2006

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Tbilisi, Georgia — Georgian firefighters are battling a forest fire spread across up to 500-hectares in the Adigeni district of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, southern Georgia.

At the Georgian side’s request, Turkish fire-fighting airplanes dropped water on the fire on August 16.

Firefighters have failed to control the blaze because of strong overnight winds on August 16, officials said.

“Currently, the fire poses no threat to nearby settlements, and now we are trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park,” Environment Minister Davit Tkeshelashvili said on August 16.

He said that Georgia hasn’t had a forest fire this large for 20 years.

The fire broke out in the vicinity of the resort town of Abastumani in the Adigeni district overnight on August 15.

Georgia asked Turkey to provide fire-fighting airplanes, and Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili thanked his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul for his assistance during a phone conversation on August 15.

The Turkish Minister noted that this assistance was “a logical step” towards a country with which Turkey has close ties, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

Turkey provided Georgia with a similar assistance in September, 2004, when a forest fire broke out in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.


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