Huge Peat Fires in Bosnia

Unique biodiversity is in danger: a huge fire is raging in the 10,000 hectare wide “Crane Moor” in Bosnia. The fire not only threatens to destroy unique biotopes but also releases a substantial amount of carbon dioxide.

Smoke on a moor

The flames are about to devastate precious habitats of rare species of animals and plants.

© Dejan Kuljer

The Crane Moor is located in the north of EuroNatur’s project area „Livanjsko Polje“. The wetlands are internationally protected by the Ramsar convention. Since the 1980ies, there has been peat mining. A network of channels extracts water from these precious wetlands thus increasingly draining the peat bodies. Due to the drainage, parts of the moor have caught fire several times.

High temperatures, low humidity and wind encourage the outbreak of a fire. EuroNatur project leader Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby expresses his concern: “Even if it is going to rain in the next days, the fire will probably not be extinguished as the dried soil will continue to burn underground. Only a huge flooding of the whole area would produce relief.” This, however, does not seem likely to happen for now. 

EuroNatur has engaged itself for many years in the land reclamation of the moor. Devastating fires can only prevented in the future if drainage canals will be closed and the moor will be re-hydrated. EuroNatur also demands to stop peat mining.

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