Litter and highly flammable trees helped Miżieb fire spread – report

(MESDC)

A mix of dumped litter and highly flammable tree species were the ‘main factor’ which spread the Miżieb fire, a new report outlines.

According to the analysis of a joint report carried out by ERA and AmbjentMALTA on the causes and lessons from last week’s Miżieb fire in Mellieħa, there were species of pines and eucalyptus in the area which were considered ‘invasive alien species,’ more susceptible to fire, helping it to spread.

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In the aftermath of the fire, the report states that 180,000 m2 of the woodland had been impacted accounting for around a quarter of the site.

The fire is understood to have impacted a number of tree species in the area including; Aleppo Pine, Olive Tree, Gum Trees, and blue-leaved wattle.

(MESDC)

 

The report outlines 6 key points which look to regenerate the area as well as towards preventing future fires on the scale seen in Miżieb.

1)    The area is allowed enough time to regeneration by promoting and allowing pine tree saplings to regenerate on their own, protecting new saplings, and by allowing olive trees to resprout from their buds;

2)    Invasive alien species are controlled and eradicated;

3)    A planting scheme favouring a mixture of native fire-resistant species is drafted, integrating fire ecology principles into forestation process and fire management strategies and policies to support sustainable management;

4)    Features or trees which can act as deterrents to fire spread are introduced.

5)    Access points for water access from the pipeline for the New Water passing through the Miżieb Area are created;

6)    Improve preparedness through Fire-Smart governance systems.

In addition to the findings, Minister for Environment José Herrera outlined that ERA and AmbjentMALTA would be working on a management plan for the area.

This is said to include measures like more rubble walls, indigenous fire-resistant trees and passages.