Hundreds of firefighters, emergency workers and volunteers continue efforts to contain forest fire in Borjomi Municipality, which erupted on August 20 and destroyed over ten hectares of forest areas.
The fire broke out close to the village of Daba and mountain landscape and wind made it difficult to fight the fire, according to Georgian officials. No casualties have been reported so far. But residents of nearby villages stayed outdoors overnight fearing further intensification of fire.
An emergency headquarters set up by Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held its session in the village of Daba late on August 21. Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who leads the headquarters; Head of the State Security and Crisis Management Council Mindia Janelidze; Head of the State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri, as well as Minister for Infrastructure Development, Governor of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region and other officials gathered at the session to discuss fire containment measures.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia said in a statement on August 21 that the fire broke out in the same location as the 2008 Borjomi wildfire, which was caused by incendiary devices dropped by Russian helicopters over the Borjomi forests. The fire was also spread to the areas restored in 2014-2017.
The government’s office said in a statement released on August 22 that about 400 rescuers and 100 forest rangers have been involved in the fire containment measures, adding that two Georgian and one Azerbaijani helicopters also joined the firefighting activities early this morning.
“The situation will improve by this evening. We are doing our utmost to contain the fire,” PM Kvirikashvili said early on August 22.
Reportedly, two Turkish helicopters and one plane will also join firefighting activities.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined.