Politics | August 13, 2001, Monday // 00:00

Wildfires destroyed 13 200 ha of forests in the past couple of days, Minister of Agriculture Mehmed Dikme said Monday after meeting with representatives of regional organizations and unions of wood processors, merchants and environmentalists. The circumstances that led to 90% of the fires are yet unknown; some 18-19% of the fires started in the forests and 80% spread to the woodlands from elsewhere. `The total amount of the losses caused by the wildfires is not yet available but the cost of restoring forests destroyed in 2001 alone amounts to some BGN 4.5 M`, he said. Serious regulatory commissions are impeding the protection of forests, he said. `Only BGN 4 of the 30 million in financing allocated in the state budget for protection of forests have been released and they are quite insufficient`, representatives of the regional organizations said, accusing the state of skirting the issue. The ban on burning stubbles will remain in force, Dikme said. It is planned to increase the fines for offenders.

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