A forest fire has devastated large parts of Armenia’s Aragatsotn Province, affecting up to 100 hectares of land. The fire started on 3 September near the village of Byurakan, 35 kilometres from the capital Yerevan. It was contained the following day, but new outbreaks have emerged, Caucasian Knot reports.
Yet another fire broke out in the village of Aghbyurak in Kotayk Province on 7 September. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, about 50 hectares of grass was burnt on a slope, all of which has now been extinguished.
This year has seen a large number of wildfires in the country. Fires broke out in the Khosrov Reserve and in Vayots Dzor Province in south-east Armenia on 10 and 12 August, and were only extinguished by 18 August, OC Media reported on 30 August.
According to preliminary information from Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Davit Karapetyan, an area of around 1,600 hectares was burnt in the Khosrov Reserve and 360 hectares of which was forested. About 1,500 hectares burnt near the village of Artavan in Vayots Dzor Province around 320 hectares of which was forest.
According to Manuk Manukyan, the coordinator of the neighbouring Khosrov Reserve which was also affected by the fire, the reserve suffered irreparable damage, with a number of 300–1,300 year-old trees lost.
The reason for the fire is not yet known, but a number of experts have speculated that it was unlikely to have occurred naturally, despite the arid and hot summer in Armenia.
[Read more on OC Media: Fire and logging threaten Armenia’s forests]