Wood removal effort starts after massive fire in Kras

Kostanjevica na Krasu – A campaign has started in the part of the Kras region south of Nova Gorica to remove the wood biomass that has been left behind the devastating fire that raged in the area in the second half of July. Around 5,000 cubic metres of wood biomass that could serve as ignition and fuel for new fires needs to be removed by 20 August.

Private owners have until 8 August to remove the wood themselves, otherwise this will be done by the state-owned Slovenian National Forests (SiDG) company.

Visiting the site in Kostanjevica na Krasu on Wednesday, Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Darij Krajčič told the press that the wood should be removed as soon as possible, as it was getting dry quickly and may serve as fuel for new fires.

Krajčič said that a plan for restoration of the forest after the catastrophic fire would be drawn up by 1 October.

It is being drafted by the Forest Service and other forestry experts, with the Slovenian Army helping out with high-resolution aerial footage, he said, adding that the draft plan would be presented to the public before adoption.

The removed wood biomass will be sorted into valuable logs and less valuable wood, and SiDG as the operator of state-owned forests will then sell the wood and allocate the proceeds to the affected private forest owners.

According to the local unit of the Forest Service in Sežana, around 35% of the affected private owners have so far opted to remove wood biomass themselves.

Miha Zupančič, the head of the forestry sector at SiDG, assessed that the entire effort would be completed by 20 August, which is the deadline set by the leadership of the Civil Protection.

Krajčič could not estimate the damage done by the largest wildfire in Slovenia’s history, while noting that it was immense. The Forest Service has started estimating the damage, and the effort is expected to be concluded by the end of the month.

According to the first estimates, about 3,600 hectares of forest and other land has been destroyed. Mainly pine forest was burned down, while various species of deciduous trees have also been destroyed.

There is thus a lot of black pine among the trees that have been cut down, which is inappropriate for furnaces in households due to the high content of resin, which can pollute chimneys and even ignite chimney fires.