Forest Fire Raging in Svaneti and Racha Regions

A forest fire is raging in the mountainous regions of Svaneti and Racha, located in northwestern Georgia.

A few hectares of forest are burning in the territorial unit of Tskhumari and Etseri.

The fire broke out on November 17 in the Mestia Municipality, near the village of Etseri.

The fire is spread over a large area and cannot be extinguished as yet.

The blaze is destroying a centuries-old coniferous and deciduous forest.

45 firefighters worked on the spot yesterday. In addition, about 90 firefighters have been involved since this morning, however, locals believe a helicopter is needed. They demand helicopters be immediately involved in the fire liquidation work, claiming that fire-fighting vehicles cannot reach the site due to bad conditions of the road and a lack of water.

Information about the involvement of additional forces has been released by the Emergency Service of Georgia.

“About 140 firefighters are participating in the fire localization work. Appropriate techniques are mobilized. About 30 employees of the Regional Forestry Agency are also working on the spot,” the agency said in a statement.

The local population is also involved in disaster liquidation works. Due to the strong smoke and difficult geographical location, the process of extinguishing the fire is complicated.

Panorama of the forest fire across the Enguri river (south) from Etseri. Photo courtesy: Tony Hanmer

The fire is raging several kilometers away from a populated area, accordingly, the lives of locals are not in danger at this stage.

In the Racha region, there is also a fire at three different locations: near the village of Iri, the village of Khidesheli and between the villages of Uravi and Abari. The administration of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Governor reports that the fire spread to 30 hectares. Currently, 80 firefighters are working in the Oni municipality, while 50 firefighters are trying to extinguish the fire in Ambrolauri.

By Ana Dumbadze 

19 November 2019 11:30