“We have mapped out measures against wildfires that are raging in many locations in the country. Their implementation will start immediately as our crucial task is to save human lives.” This is what Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said after the emergency meeting that he called and that was held in the Council of Ministers on the fatal accident – a fire near the village of Petrovo in Sandanski area – that claimed two lives of forest rangers from the Southwest State-Owned Enterprise – Blagoevgrad. The meeting that was attended by members of ministries and agencies in charge heard a report about the general situation in the country arising from the outbreak of wildfires and mapped out measures required in an order of urgency.
“May I express my sincerest condolences to the relatives of the SOE Blagoevgrad staff members who lost their lives,” Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said. He appealed to all Bulgarian citizens to be vigilant now so as to preclude fires and to raise the alarm immediately wherever there is a risk.
“Coincidentally, today’s cabinet meeting discussed namely the need to draft a new Crisis Management Act. We have taken certain decisions to that effect,” the Prime Minister noted. Mr. Yanev was firm on the need for such type of legislation and arrangement of all agencies that must interact to prevent human casualties and damage.
The Prime Minister pointed out that at present the interaction at national and local level is via the Ministry of Interior, yet the regional governors and the local authorities have the duty to switch on their councils and employ them to reduce the risk of disaster. “I ask that these councils be called as soon as possible to implement the measures required and to enable the coordination needed at local and regional level, with the intervention of the national authorities whenever this is needed,” Prime Minister Yanev stressed. The Prime Minister asked the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Hristo Bozukov to order the suspension of any stubble grubbing operations. “Field fires, as generally termed, that are caused by dry grass, are predominant. Forest fires are relatively fewer. These are the measures that are taken directly and will promptly materialize,” Prime Minister Yanev said.
Further the Prime Minister said that army units are currently deployed in the fight against the fires with aircraft and relevant modules that are made available and apportioned territorially. “We can send reinforcements – the men and materiel and equipment,” said Prime Minister Yanev and stressed that safety measures would be underlying the prevention of accidents. “The coaching of all people who engage in this type of operations must be adequate since the fire is unpredictable,” said Prime Minister Yanev.