On 10 August a fire burst out in the grass-covered area in the 10th km of Vayq-Saravan section on M-2 highway in Vayots Dzor Region. The fire is expanding and including the areas of juniper forests. As Lyuba Balyan, a researcher of Institute of Zoology of NAS RA informed EcoLur in her phone talk, who is currently in Artavan, fire is still not extinguished. “Fires burn one after another: a whole ecosystem is being eliminated. We are irreversibly losing this relict juniper forests, it will hardly be possible to recover this forest again. The whole fauna, invertebrates are being burnt down, especially those species, which have local lifestyle and don’t move along long distances. Raptors are circling above my head: their natural habitat is also getting eliminated. In these sections where I am now, no firefighting works are carried out: most probably, all the forces are focused on those areas, from where fire can reach the communities. Now the forest is in smoke, while the wind promotes the expansion of the fire. Over several decades this fire has been the largest in the history of Armenia,” Lyuba Balyan said.
As of 06:25 , about 230 hectares of grass-covered area and forest was destroyed by the fire.
As of 10:25, 14 utility poles had caught fire, and therefore the ower to Artavan village was cut down.
Many officials have arrived at the spot of the emergency, such as Minister for Emergency States D. Tonoyan, Deputy Agriculture Minister A. Harutyunyan, Deputy Regional Heads, Vayq Chief Police Officer, Director of Vayots Dzor Branch of “ArmForest” SNCO, Head of Regional Territorial Division of State Environmental Inspection, Artavan Village Head etc.
A helicopter from the Ministry of Defense and Police are also taking part in the firefighting.
The water reserves of HerHer reservoir located iata distance of 3 km are used for firefighting.
Photos and videos by Lyuba Balyan
14:31 August 11, 2017