TIRANA, March 25
Officials say that the recent bush fires in different regions throughout Albania were intentionally set. Chairman of the General Directorate of Civil Emergencies Haki Cako said that a total of 69 fires burned over 167 hectares of grazing land and forests in protected areas during the last 22 days.
“Starting March 3rd large surfaces of pastures, orchards, and forests considered protected areas have been burning resulting in considerable environmental and economic damage,” Cako said.
“All fires were manmade,” Cako highlighted.
Moreover, he said that’s a pity that local authorities only notice the case and ask for air tankers.
“Based on the law on Civil Emergencies, local power authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring the preservation and protection of forests and pastures from the fire. Local authorities are also responsible for identifying the fire source and what or who started it,” Cako added.
Further on, he stated that negligence makes local power responsible as it risks to set dangerous precedents that hamper the community safety and national resources.
Cako also called on for more cooperation from the State Police and the Prosecutor’s Office in order to find the arsonists and to bring them to justice.
Arson fires in the countryside and mountains have been a common occurrence in Albania and often encouraged by the lack of punishment for the arsonists. Shepherds are often responsible for intentional fires as they try to produce new pastures for cattle.
This practice has caused irreversible damage. For the first time in many years, farmers in southern Albania in Delvina area are saying that there is no grazing grass. Therefore, they can’t afford to keep their cattle with feeding hay.
The mountains and hills in the area have been burned almost every summer, and hectares of pine forests have been burned to the ground, while no response was found.
On the other hand, no measure was taken for the afforestation of the area.
According to the United Nations, between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Deforestation affects climate change on a large scale.
News Source: RTSH
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