Mass Effort to Tame Vitosha Wildfire Launched near Sofia

Environment | July 2, 2012, Monday // 08:19|  views

The wildfire in the Bistrishko Branishte locality near the Bulgarian capital Sofia started at about 2 pm on Sunday. Photo by BTA

The effort to tame the wildfire in the Vitosha Mountain near the Bulgarian capital Sofia continues Monday, Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov has announced.

According to him this is a very large fire, engulfing over 10 acres, while the fact that the area is not easily accessible makes it very difficult to extinguish it from above ground.

Two helicopters MI-17, 11 servicemen from the Krumovo airfield, dozens of fire fighters, forest rangers, and volunteers are taking part in the attempt to handle the blaze. The helicopters have poured over 100 tons of water since 4:30 pm Sunday.

The activities were put on hold overnight with only several patrols monitoring the fire to prevent any further spreading out. The patrols included 5 fire rescue teams from the Sofia fire brigade and 4 forest ranger teams. The area has not expanded overnight.

The effort, including the choppers, has resumed Monday morning.

Naydenov calls on everyone to exercise extreme caution when visiting the mountains. He further pointed out the disaster has been most likely caused by a "tourist error." Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, assuages fears that people living at the foothill of the mountain, such as those in the suburb of Bistritsa, are in danger, saying the large rocks on the way will stop the blaze.

Many citizens are organizing themselves through Facebook to join the fire rescue effort as volunteers.

50 students from the National Sports Academy in Sofia are also volunteering to help the firefighters.

The authorities stress the fire is now under control and reiterate that people in nearby suburbs are out of danger. There are no reports of injuries.

The wildfire in the Bistrishko Branishte locality started at about 2 pm on Sunday; about 10 acres of forest with fir trees were on fire on Sunday afternoon in a largely inaccessible region.

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Tags: fire, forest fires, forest fire, wildfire, wilfires, Vitosha mountain, Bistritsa, Interior Minister, fire brigade, fire fighters, blaze, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov


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