After days of blazes, Bulgaria faces severe fire warnings

After days of blazes, Bulgaria faces severe fire warnings

Sofia, August 3, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

An official warning was issued on August 3 of a high risk of fires in several provinces in Bulgaria over the next two days, after firefighters said that in the past four days, they had battled more than 900 fires.

For August 4, the highest level of warning, code red, was issued for eight districts in Bulgaria: Dobrich, Bourgas, Yambol, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Kurdzhali and Plovdiv.

The National Institute for Metereology and Hydrology issued the lesser code orange warning for 10 districts: Pleven, Veliko Turnovo, Rousse, Turgovishte, Razgrad, Silistra, Varna, Shoumen, Pazardzhik and Blagoevgrad.

For August 5, a code red fire hazard alert was issued for all or part of the provinces of Rousse, Pleven, Veliko Turnovo, Razgrad, Dobrich, Haskovo and Kurdzhali.

Interviewed on August 3 by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, the head of the chief directorate for fire safety and population protection, Nikolai Nikolov, said that the situation with fires in the country was currently under control.

In the past four days, firefighters had extinguished 918 fires, Nikolov said.

He expressed gratitude for the heroism of those involved in battling the blazes.

Often, the cause of fires was human carelessness, Nikolov said, urging people not to light fires in the open country, and adding that in most cases, this was anyway forbidden by law.

Restoring forested areas after wildfires cost millions of leva, Nikolov said.