[WATCH] Miżieb wildfire leads to management plan for the vast reserve

An analysis report concluded that 180,000 sq.m. of woodland were affected by the fire 

The damage left following the fire
The damage left following the fire
ERA and Ambjent Malta draw up management plan following Mizieb wildfire

The massive fire at the Miżieb woodland affected around 25% of the afforested site in the outskirts of Mellieħa, an analysis of the site has shown.

The analysis report drawn up by the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) and AmbjentMALTA, concluded that 180,000 square metres of woodland were engulfed by the fires. 

According to the report, multiple species of trees were affected, most of these including Aleppo Pine, Olive Tree, Gum Trees, and blue-leaved wattle. 

The main factor to the spread of the fire was attributed to the occurrence of highly flammable species as pines and eucalyptus, the large extensive cover of pine needle leaf litter as well as dumped litter in the area.

An issue identified in the analysis was the intermixing of the artificial monospecific forest plantation of Aleppo Pines with invasive alien species. 

The lack of bio-diversity paved the way for the fire to spread out. 

Further recommendations state that the area is allowed enough time to regenerate on its own by promoting and allowing pine tree saplings to regenerate and allowing olive trees to re-sprout from their buds. 

The report also states that a planting scheme of native fire-resistant species is drafted while fire ecology principles into the forestation process and fire management strategies are implemented. 

“Access points for water access from the pipeline for the New Water passing through the Miżieb Area should be created,” the report recommends.

Environment Minister Jose Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Clint Camilleri, officials from ERA, Ambjent Malta and FKNK visited the area following the report’s conclusion.

Herrera said that a management plan for the Miżieb area will be drawn up, with passages and features like rubble walls together with more fire-resistant native species all included in the strategy. 

Camilleri warned that woodlands in the country need to be more appreciated by the community, and said that open flames and litter can easily lead to the destruction of more trees and species. 

READ ALSO: Firefighters struggling to contain fire in Miżieb woodland

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