ODESSA, October 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Wildfires in Ukraine’s biggest Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve have destroyed 420 hectares in the past four days, a spokesman for the Odessa region emergencies administration told Itar-Tass on Monday.
Fire fighting operations were to no avail, since numerous bogs in the area prevented rescuers from getting there. It was a pelting rain that poured down on Sunday after a long period of drought that helped put out the fire.
“Neither the cause of the fire nor the damage it inflicted have been established as of yet,” the spokesman noted.
The fire emerged in the Danube mouth, in a boggy area in the vicinity of Island Belgorodsky. The fire killed many birds nesting here, and animals the bulk of which are on the World Red List of endangered species.
The smell of smoke was felt in the resort cities of Zatoka, Belgorod-Dnestrovsky, and even in Odessa located 180 kilometers away from the fire area.
This is not the first big fire reported in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. About a month ago, a criminal case was opened over arsons of marshy banks of the Danube: to clear the way to islands poachers set fires to marshy areas. About 1,380 hectares of preserved lands were destroyed, the damage was estimated at more than three million U.S. dollars. In all, more than 20 fires were reported in the Danube Delta reserve in 2011. The majority of them were caused by humans.
Established in 1990, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve located on an area of 580,000 hectares, is one of the world’s biggest wetlands populated by waterfowl. It is the biggest area of compact reed beds, and a home to 30 types of ecosystems.