Bulgaria — The cause and the size of the forest fire that started on September 3 in Rila National Park are still not clear, Rossen Popsavov from the State Forestry Agency told a news conference on September 5. Sofia spokespersons from the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) could not confirm when the fire first erupted.
The Ministry of Environment and Water Affairs (MOEW) said in a media statement that the fire started on September 3 at approximately 5pm, about 30km from Blagoevgrad. Initially, it enveloped 15 ha grass and bushes but on September 4 spread to the coniferous forest due to strong winds. On September 5 the fire was still burning over 12 ha of woods, MOEW said.
MES regional office director Petur Samardjiev said that about 30ha of coniferous woods were on fire on September 5, as well as more than 100ha of broad-leafed forests and bushes. MES teams were working with wood cutting machines to forge corridors between the woods.
Fire fighters, employees from Rila national park, Blagoevgrads Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters and from Blagoevgrads water-basin directorate as well as local state forestry employees were fighting the fire. On September 5 local police and representatives from the local service for protection of the population from disasters and emergency situations joined the effort.
A crisis headquarters is expected to be set up in Blagoevgrad to co-ordinate activities in Rila National Park, MES said.