YEREVAN, July 16. /ARKA/. Fires destroyed seven hectares of forests in Armenia in the first half of this year, while a year before 91 hectares were swallowed by fires, Ruben Petrosyan, chief forest warden of Hayantar governmental non commercial organization, said Wednesday at a news conference.
“Things have improved thanks to the two properly equipped crews set up in Kapan and Goris for swift response,” he said.
In his words, even the usually troubled province of Syunik was damaged by fires less than ever.
A similar team will be set up in Hrazdan. It would be perfect, Petrosyan said, to establish such groups in all the provinces of Armenia. He is convinced that creation of swift response crews is a very effective and not expensive way of fighting against forest fires.
Sertgey Hayrapetyan, chief of the Armenian emergency ministry’s firefighting inspection, speaking at the same news conference, said the total number of fires rose this year.
“The most of fires broke out from fields and meadows and then spread to forests,” he said. “A first step is fighting against such fires is to enhance public awareness of danger from burning dried grass etc… The left garbage may spark a flame as well,” he said.
Hayrapetyan said referring to statistical reports that 10% of fires are caused by natural factors, while the remaining 90% are manmade.
Some 740 fires occurred in Armenia in the first half of this year. “Offenders are fined – some 600 people were fined in the first half of this year, and the total amount of fines was AMD 25 million,” he said. “The average number of the wrongdoers fined every year is 1,000 people and the total amount of fines is AMD 50 million.”
Some 220 hectares of forests were destroyed by fires in 2012 and about 400 hectares in 2011. About 2,500 hectares of forests have been burnt in Armenia for one decade. The country has 332,333 hectares of forests now. --0----