A fire which destroyed around 25% of Miżieb last weekend was largely a result of flammable alien trees which had been planted in the woodland over the years and dumped litter in the area, a government report has ruled.
“It was outlined that 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 were considered to be the main factor assisting fire spread,” the report, which was drafted by ERA and AmbjentMalta, states.
“One of the main issues identified in the analysis was that the Miżieb area is predominantly an artificial monospecific forest plantation of Aleppo Pines, intermixed with invasive alien species which are amongst the most highly flammable Mediterranean tree spies. Hence the lack of biodiversity has made it easier for the fire the spread out.”
The report recommends that Miżieb is allowed enough time to regenerate naturally by promoting and allowing pine tree saplings to grow on their own, protecting new saplings and by allowing olive trees to re-sprout from their buds.
It also calls for the eradication of alien tee species, the drafting of a planting scheme which favours a mixture of native fire-resistant species, and the introduction of features or trees which can act as deterrents to fire.
Environment Minister Jose Herrera confirmed that the two environmental entities will draw up a management plan for Miżieb, which will include the setting up of passages, the erection of rubble walls and the planning of fire-resistant indigenous trees.