Chief Commissary Nikolay Nikolov, Director of Chief Directorate Fire Safety and Civil Protection with the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, in an interview for Radio Focus’ broadcast This is Bulgaria.
Focus: Mr Nikolov, what part of Bulgaria is covered by fires, and how are you dealing with them?
Nikolay Nikolov: Let us say that generally we are dealing with the fires successfully. The fires are under control, and the good news is that there are no casualties, no harmed people, and no civil property is damaged. Our colleagues continue their work. The situation in the country is very complicated, as we have had more than 200 fires around the country. Currently, 64 fires are active, as there are three major ones, and in one of them we are using helicopters, which provide assistance to the extinguishing activities. I can draw one conclusion – the organised actions of all institutions, including local and regional authorities, volunteers, and the military lead to very good results.
Focus: Mr Nikolvo, how much do 200 fires per day cost to Bulgaria? Let us tell this to people, who are careless, they should know that their negligence costs a lot of money.
Nikolay Nikolov: Yes, the negligence costs a lot of money. A lot of money is spent for extinguishing fires every day. This money comes from our pockets – from the pockets of everyone. We are talking about millions of BGN, spent only for the extinguishing of the fires, and the damages caused by the fires cost even more millions. This is the place to say that our colleagues from the police work very actively towards determining the reasons for the fires and I think that very soon we will have new about who caused the more serious fires around the country.
Focus: Apart from negligence, do you have any signs for any intentional fires from the data you have?
Nikolay Nikolov: Fortunately, the data we have do not point in this direction, i.e. there is no data for intentional fires. However, being negligent in this season, with the low humidity, strong wind, and high temperature – people should be more careful. We cannot go on being so negligent.
Focus: Yes, negligence is also seen in throwing unlit cigarettes in dry weeds, which can also be the cause of a fire.
Nikolay Nikolov: Indeed. And also setting the stubbles on fire after gathering the crops is very dangerous. You know that the harvest ended, and we managed to have a very successful campaign – organised by our fired departments, which led to no serious fires during the harvesting season. Now, however, as stubbles are being lit, this could lead to very serious fires and serious losses for everyone. We are working towards preventing this with all institutions.
Focus: Mr Nikolov, there were 200 fires today alone. Is this the case every day?
Nikolay Nikolov: It has been for four days – we have had between 200 and 300 fires per day in Bulgaria, unfortunately.
Focus: We should make a real calculation of the amount of damages, in order to show people that we pay a very expensive price for our stupidity.
Nikolay Nikolov: Expensive, indeed.