Forest fire in Borjomi Gorge: Updates for August 24

Forest fire in Borjomi Gorge: Updates for August 24

24 August 2017

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Georgia – As of now, all the main fire spots have been localised, but there are areas where the threat of fire spreading has not been removed, Georgia’s Environment Ministry said this morning.

It is the fifth day that a massive forest fire is still raging in Borjomi Gorge in South-Central Georgia.

Up to 1,500 firefighters, rescuers and rangers, six helicopters and one firefighting aircraft are currently working to handle the fire.

Last night an additional 3 km road was paved into the forest in an attempt to split the burnt trees from healthy forest and prevent the fire from spreading.

  • “Last night was a very hard night. During the night an additional 3 km road was paved. In total, up to 12km road has been paved in mountains during the past several days”, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said in the morning.
  • “We have divided active fire spots and healthy forestlands. We can say that the fire areas are demarcated and the situation is under control”, he added.

Kvirikashvili thanked Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Belarus for being involved in the fire extinguishing efforts by contributing either human force or machinery. He added that several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Iran have also expressed their readiness to help Georgia fight the fire.

The National Forest Agency estimated that dozens of hectares of unique forests burnt during the fire in Borjomi Gorge.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Last night a citizen found shatters of a bottle in the forest that he claimed smelled like petrol. Earlier, a 20-litre canister full of petrol was found in the forest. Police said all of these details will be investigated.

Meanwhile last night, several other locations too across Georgia were on fire. A fire broke out in the historic Pshav-Khevsureti province, also in Tserovani, Dusheti, Lagodekhi and Dedoplistskaro. The scale of these fires were much smaller than Borjomi Gorge fire and they were all handled. In total, more than 30 hectares of grass and wildland was burnt as a result. No connection have been proved between the fires across Georgia so far.

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