US Ambassador: US is ready to help Georgia fight wildfire in Borjomi

"Our thoughts and prayers go to the brave firefighters who are fighting this fire," said Kelly. Photo by US Embassy to Georgia., 22 Aug 2017 - 17:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United States (US) is ready to help Georgia fight wildfire in Borjomi, says the US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly.

"I have been in close contact with senior officials from this government starting last night, late last night, continuing into today. We understand that the fire is extremely worrisome, extremely difficult. We know that hundreds of Georgian firefighters are in harm’s way,” said Kelly.

We, as Georgia’s partner, would like to support your efforts and so I have requested from the US Government additional assistance. We have been in touch with both US military, the European Command in Germany, and with the US Agency for International Development, and I think the key will be to see where we can provide additional assistance,” he added.

"I know that other countries have also stepped up. Countries that are close-by have been able to provide some immediate response equipment to extinguish the fire and we will be in close contact with the government to see where we can also give assistance. And, again, our thoughts and prayers go to the brave firefighters who are fighting this fire in a very beautiful area of Georgia, one of my favorite areas, Borjomi,” Kelly said.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said a short time ago that several units of fire appliances are on their way to Georgia’s Borjomi Gorge from Armenia.

Apart from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey are also helping Georgia fight the fire in Borjomi.

Azerbaijan was the first to send a helicopter yesterday.

This afternoon Turkey also sent two helicopters and, upon a decision of the Turkish Prime Minister, a large Turkish firefighting aircraft will also arrive later today.

Georgia was offered help from Russia too, but Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said that "what we have so far is enough”. He hopes that no additional help will be needed.

Georgia has sent information about the massive wildfire to the countries of the European Union as well.

It is the third day that a massive forest fire which broke out in the Borjomi Gorge is still raging in South-Central Georgia.