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Ukraine needs a comprehensive plan to prevent forest fires

29/ 04/ 2020
  Recently, several regions of Ukraine were damaged by large-scale forest fires that also turned Kyiv into the city with the worlds most polluted air for a certain time. The largest fires occurred in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Zhytomyr, and Kyiv oblasts. Thus, in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone alone, the fire destroyed over eleven thousand hectares of forest.The problem of wildfires is the global one. Thus, the Global Forest Watch Fires online platform counted over 4.5 million fires worldwide in 2019. Just over 38,000 fires were recorded in Ukraine last year. And in 2020, in the first four months alone, their number has spiked to 15 610 cases. Forest fires do enormous damage to the environment, polluting the air and destroying flora and fauna, and hit the economy with significant losses to forestry and agriculture, under-utilization of renewable resources, etc. Svitlana Mykhailovska. EBA Deputy Director for Advocacy. Even more, these situations have a negative impact on the country′s investment climate. When the mass fires broke out across the country in mid-April, Ukraine has hit the headlines of most international media with the message, ′Kyiv is the most polluted city in the world.′ Transparency and predictability are crucial when investors decide to enter a country or scale a project. And such headlines are obviously not the kind of message that we as a country would like to send to the international community. Therefore, it is important to comprehensively regulate the situation in order to create transparent and safe working conditions and to show that Ukraine is a really good place to do business. Thus, given the fact that the fire season has just begun, the experts of the EBA Woodworking & Furniture Committee would like to draw special attention to this problem and emphasize the importance of its complex regulation. In particular, the measures for fire prevention and management should include: • increasing state financial support for forestry, in particular for the purpose of protecting forests from fires; • lifting restrictions on fire preventive measures (for example, to allow deadwood removal on the territory of the nature reserve fund, abolish the restrictions of the silence season from April 1 to June 15, which prohibit sanitary fire-fighting, simplify the approval procedure for clearing clutter in the forest); • developing a National Strategy for the Prevention of Catastrophic Fires in Ukraines Ecosystems; • raising public awareness and clarifying forest fire safety rules; • conducting professional training in forest firefighting. In this situation, the coordination and cooperation of all agencies specialized in this issue is extremely important. Therefore, the EBA hopes that in the near future, the country will be able to take all necessary measures to prevent fires to not repeat the April situation.

Recently, several regions of Ukraine were damaged by large-scale forest fires that also turned Kyiv into the city with the world’s most polluted air for a certain time.

The largest fires occurred in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Zhytomyr, and Kyiv oblasts. Thus, in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone alone, the fire destroyed over eleven thousand hectares of forest.The problem of wildfires is the global one. Thus, the Global Forest Watch Fires online platform counted over 4.5 million fires worldwide in 2019. Just over 38,000 fires were recorded in Ukraine last year. And in 2020, in the first four months alone, their number has spiked to 15 610 cases.

Forest fires do enormous damage to the environment, polluting the air and destroying flora and fauna, and hit the economy with significant losses to forestry and agriculture, under-utilization of renewable resources, etc.

Svitlana Mykhailovska EBA Deputy Director for Advocacy
Even more, these situations have a negative impact on the country′s investment climate. When the mass fires broke out across the country in mid-April, Ukraine has hit the headlines of most international media with the message, ′Kyiv is the most polluted city in the world.′ Transparency and predictability are crucial when investors decide to enter a country or scale a project. And such headlines are obviously not the kind of message that we as a country would like to send to the international community. Therefore, it is important to comprehensively regulate the situation in order to create transparent and safe working conditions and to show that Ukraine is a really good place to do business.

Thus, given the fact that the fire season has just begun, the experts of the EBA Woodworking & Furniture Committee would like to draw special attention to this problem and emphasize the importance of its complex regulation.

In particular, the measures for fire prevention and management should include:

• increasing state financial support for forestry, in particular for the purpose of protecting forests from fires;

• lifting restrictions on fire preventive measures (for example, to allow deadwood removal on the territory of the nature reserve fund, abolish the restrictions of the silence season from April 1 to June 15, which prohibit sanitary fire-fighting, simplify the approval procedure for clearing clutter in the forest);

• developing a National Strategy for the Prevention of Catastrophic Fires in Ukraine’s Ecosystems;

• raising public awareness and clarifying forest fire safety rules;

• conducting professional training in forest firefighting.
In this situation, the coordination and cooperation of all agencies specialized in this issue is extremely important. Therefore, the EBA hopes that in the near future, the country will be able to take all necessary measures to prevent fires to not repeat the April situation.

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