Monday, 20 November 2017 | News today: 14

Full ban on movement in forests still in force in two wildfire-hit municipalities

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management has given green light for a request to lift the full ban on movement in forest areas and to restore a partial movement ban. A full ban on movement in forest areas is still in force in Makedonski Brod and Caska, where a state of emergency has been declared.

Under the partial ban, staff of the Macedonia Forests public enterprise, stakeholders managing protected areas and organized tours of tourists are only allowed, the Ministry of Agriculture said Tuesday in a press release.

This month, 56 wildfires were registered that have destroyed 4,000 hectares, initial data of the Macedonian Forests public enterprise show. So far, the damage caused by 22 forest fires is estimated at EUR one million.

“Initial analyses show that some of the wildfires have been deliberately set by arsonists, while others have broken out due to negligence. Arson-related charges have been already lodged by the Ministry of Interior Affairs,” the Ministry said in a press release.

In the coming period, it added, efforts will be made to boost the forest protection and afforestation budget.

“Funds for the program on extended forest reproduction in the past several years has been cut down tenfold. From MKD 70 million in 2006, the budget foreseen by the former administration for forest revitalization in 2017 stands at a mere MKD 7 million. In the past four years, as little as 200 hectares have been afforested. The new government will single aside more funds for this purpose and in 2018 alone, 300 hectares will be afforested,” the press release stated.