Photograph by Petko Tzvetkov: Volunteer action at Dragoman Marsh by Hewlett Packard.

In October 2022, 50 employees of Hewlett Packard Enterprise volunteered at Dragoman Marsh to clear the debris from a wildfire that destroyed the visitor’s infrastructure in 2020.

The group also cleared vegetation that had accumulated in pathways to allow for easier visitor access and engagement at the Marsh.

The fire occurred on the night of January 22nd, 2020 and destroyed about 80% of the vegetation in the Dragoman Marsh. The fire had a huge impact due to low water levels in the wetland and strong winds. Following the fire, the water levels were the lowest since the wetland’s restoration in the 1990s.

Luckily, as the fire occurred in mid-winter, it occurred prior to mating and nesting season, and so did not harm any birds. However, the fire affected small animals, reptiles and amphibians, and destroyed important habitats like reed vegetation which provides shelter for nesting herons.

Since 2020, the wetland vegetation has recovered greatly, with reeds growing throughout the summers. Restoration at the Marsh is greatly supported by charitable volunteer work such as the fantastic work of the Hewlett Packard employees, and initiatives like Adrenaline With a Cause, which raised over BGN 3,200 to mitigate damage from the fire.