March 15, 2024, 12:27

Ecosystem fires are on the rise in Ukraine, more than doubling in number

Ukraine has seen a notable surge in ecosystem fires, with 2.5 thousand blazes already recorded in the first two months of this year, compared to about a thousand during the same timeframe last year. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine underscores that dry vegetation burning is the primary culprit behind these fires.

Anatolii Shkarbuta, Deputy Head of the Prevention Unit of the Fire Safety Office of the Emergencies Prevention Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, made this report on this trend during a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

“This year, we’re witnessing a significant uptick in the number of fires compared to last year. To illustrate, during this period last year, there were roughly a thousand fires, whereas this year, we’ve already logged 2,500 fires. In just the first two months of this year, we’ve tragically recorded three fatalities and five injuries due to fires,” he stated.

According to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service representative, the highest concentration of fires this year occurred in Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions.

Anatolii Shkarbuta emphasized that citizens using fire for purposes of removing vegetation overgrowth are the primary cause of such fires, often exacerbated by uncontrollable weather conditions. Additionally, he highlighted careless fire handling as a contributing factor.

“Regrettably, it’s become a longstanding tradition dating back to the Soviet era for elderly people with the onset of warming to actively engage in cleaning up their household plots and manage the land of the surrounding areas by extensive vegetation burning. However, according to statistics from ecologists and agricultural experts, setting fires does not stipulate soil fertility increase or improved appearance of the plots. Instead, smoke from pasture burning leads to environmental pollution of the territory, adversely affecting public health and destroying flora and fauna,” he elaborated.

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