Georgian Prime Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili said on August 25 that firefighters managed to contain the massive forest fire in Borjomi Municipality, which flared up on August 20 near village Daba and quickly spread into the surrounding areas devastating reportedly around 100 hectares of woodland.
“In the evening, I personally inspected all critical sites together with ministers and we can say that the fire is contained. There might be some pockets of fire in coming days, which will be dealt with in timely manner,” the Prime Minister told journalists on Friday.
Upon Kvirikashvili’s decision, the emergency response staff will continue its work. The fire engines and other firefighting vehicles will remain in the area as well to quickly extinguish the remaining pockets of fire.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili also thanked the firefighters, rescuers, soldiers and pilots involved in the firefighting operation.
“Even in places where their lives were at risk, these people managed to save the wealth of our country, a large area of beautiful forestry. Therefore, I bow my head to the courage of each of them and I want to say that our country has addressed this challenge with dignity. I would like to express gratitude to each of you,” Georgi Kvirikashvili stated.
The Prime Minister also thanked the Georgian, Azerbaijani, Turkish and Belarusian pilots involved in the firefighting operation, as well as the firefighters from Armenia and Azerbaijan.
According to the Ministry of Defense, early morning on August 26, following the emergency response staff meeting, the Interior, Defense and Energy Ministers inspected the situation in the forest fire area from a helicopter.
Defense Minister Levan Izoria confirmed that “the fire is nearly extinguished.” At the end of the day, the Ministry of Defense announced it would start withdrawing the military personnel from the area: instead of the initially deployed 1200 soldiers there will be a company of servicemen remaining.
According to the Government’s press office, the following number of firefighters and firefighting devices participated in the operation:
- 1200 servicemen of the Ministry of Defense, 650 officers of the Special Tasks Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 900 employees of the Emergency Management Agency, 20 pilots of the Border Police (two helicopters), as well as the employees of the National Forestry Agency, police officers, medical workers, representatives of private companies specializing in energy and infrastructure.
- three helicopters, 12 fire engines, seven units of special firefighting devices and 90 firefighters from Azerbaijan;
- 13 firefighting vehicles and 65 firefighters from Armenia;
- Two helicopters and one plane from Turkey;
- a helicopter from Belarus.
The Interior Ministry is investigating the cause of fire.