Forest Fire Rages in Akhaltsikhe District

Forest Fire Rages in Akhaltsikhe District

09 August 2010

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Georgia — Hundreds of firefighters, emergency workers and volunteers continue efforts to contain forest fire in Akhaltsikhe district, which erupted on August 4.

The fire broke out close to the village of Atskuri, when efforts were still underway to extinguish forest fire in neighboring district of Borjomi, about 150 kilometers west from Tbilisi.

“Situation is not easy… But the situation is under control and population is not under threat,” Goga Khachidze, minister for environment protection, told Rustavi 2 TV via phone from Atskuri.

He said mountain landscape, wind and high temperature made it difficult to fight the fire. He also said that it was difficult to predict, but at this point there was no need to request assistance from Turkey, as Georgia did for number of times in the past to fight the forest fire.

The Ministry for Environment Protection said in a statement that forest fire smoke blanketed three nearby villages. It also said that total of 25 hectares of forest were destroyed by fires in Borjomi and Akhaltsikhe districts.

In a separate location, fire has reportedly destroyed about 50 cottages in the village of Kumisi, about 15 kilometers south from Tbilisi. Mainly holiday houses are located in the village, which were not inhabited when fire broke late on August 8. No casualties were reported. It was reported that bad road leading to the village of Kumisi delayed firefighters’ arrival.

In general high temperature was blamed for all the recent wildfires in Georgia; but as the Environment Protection Minister said recently “carelessness” could also be not ruled out.

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