Major damages: Over 400 hectares of forest area were burned to ashes in one month on Shara

Photo: Free Press

The fires of Shara are dormant only when the temperatures drop and during torrential rains like the past few days when the weather fortunately managed to completely extinguish the fires on the Sharaplanina massif.

In one month, the mountain was lost from the fires more than 400 hectares of forest area.

- From the beginning of April until a few days ago, we had summer temperatures, the vegetation had not yet leafed out, and today we have snow. Winter is shorter, summer is longer and it is symptomatic that fires occur with greater intensity and more often. It is obvious that the conditions change, and for dealing with such extremes we do not have a model because we rely on experiences. The public institution National Park Shar Mountain is a relatively new institution and right at the beginning it is the right time to adapt to not only focus on past experiences but also to focus on what can happen, said Ibrahim Dehari, director of NP Shar Mountain .

The US Forest Service has more than 100 years of experience dealing with wildfires, and their crews have been on Shar Mountain for a week. A group of experts is helping NP Shar Planina to establish a system of effective fire management in the territory of the park, through the preparation of a fire management plan and intensive theoretical and practical training for all employees. Training covers incident protocol, outdoor firefighting planning and tactics, communication, tool use, weather forecasting, and safety at work.

- Representatives of CMC, SSO and the territorial firefighting unit from Gostivar participated in the training, as well as several local volunteers in order to strengthen the inter-institutional approach in dealing with such disasters. Today is the last, practical part of the training. Through tactics for establishing a direct or indirect fire line, we practice and discuss possible fire fighting scenarios with different types of vegetation and different topography. Such collaborations and communication in peaceful conditions, and not in conditions of crisis events, are of particular importance for rapprochement of attitudes and possible joint intervention in the future. Special emphasis was placed on the need for education and prevention, and therefore in the future we will have a joint institutional approach, so we remind once again that lighting fires is illegal and irresponsible behavior, said Dehari.

He added that with the help of several different donors, their institutional capacities are being improved.

- Thus, the last donation of a pump and ten sets of firefighting clothing, hand tools and a backpack blower received from OSCE are of great importance to us for more efficient and safer handling of fires. Forest ecosystems provide services to nature and society, regulate climate through carbon absorption, support biodiversity and habitats, regulate water and prevent flooding and erosion, provide resources such as timber and medicinal plants, recreational opportunities, cultural and spiritual values ​​and contribute to air and water quality. With fires, forests lose all these useful functions, and sooner or later that loss results in disasters. "Although the primary emphasis is usually placed on the supply of firewood, older residents are well aware that due to the specifics of the terrain, the most important role of the forests of Shar Mountain is to protect the population," said Dehari.

According to the Law on Forests, natural persons who caused a forest fire are obliged to compensate the damage caused by the forest fire to the owner of the private forest or to the Public Institution National Park Shar Planina as the entity that manages the state forests of Shar Planina. Unfortunately, they say from NP Shar Planina, it is very difficult to find the perpetrators, but also to prove the crime.

VIDEO: More than 170 hectares of forests and pastures burned in the Shara forest fire, the rangers extinguished the steep terrain with shovels and brooms

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