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Gov’t becomes more vocal about ‘deliberate fires ‘

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 5
The ruling party’s Tbilisi Mayoral candidate, former Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, says that so many fires broke out over the summer in Georgia that he has begun to suspect that they were deliberately started.

“What we have seen in the summer has never taken place in Georgia,” Kaladze told Palitra.

He said unique forests have been destroyed and the frequency of such incidents has naturally caused suspicion that the fires were deliberate.

This possibility was also mentioned by Georgia’s Interior Minister in the wake of about 60 incidents of fire breaking out in the country during the summer.

The most recent fires emerged three days ago at four locations simultaneously.

“Fires have been localized in Khulo, on the Shavnabada Mountain in Georgia’s western seaside Adjara region,” David Tserodze from the Ministry of Environment announced on September 4.

He says there is no threat of the fire spreading.

Firefighters, employees of the National Forestry Agency and more than 400 people from the Special Tasks Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are trying to extinguish fire at three locations in the country’s eastern Kakheti region.

Four helicopters are at the scene to assist in the operation.

However, as the head of the Emergency Situation Management Agency, Nika Siradze, announced, helicopters could not be used due to the intensive flames and a ‘complicated’ situation at one of the locations.

He said the fire has only been localized at the village of Shilda in Kvareli, and specialists were trying to prevent the possibility of the fire breaking out again.

“The situation is especially hard in the village of Artana, as it is very difficult to reach the fire,” Siradze said.

“All efforts are provided to extinguish fire in the village of Khakhabo, in Mta-Tusheti,” he added.

The relevant bodies have been fighting the fire in the Artana-Pshavelo forest from September 2.

Works are underway at three locations, in Mta-Tusheti, Shilda and near the village Artana.

Military analyst Irakli Aladashvili has not ruled out a possibility that the fires could be lit through the use of drones at impassable areas in the forests.

He said such a method of starting fires is widely known.

The analyst also voiced a belief that the fires could serve the aim to destroy the image of the current state leadership, as the authorities have struggled to deal with the crisis.