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Project Title
Type of Contract/Category
Grant contract
IPA Component/ (national or regional) Programming year
Cross-border Programme the Republic of North Macedonia – Republic of Albania under the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) allocations for 2018 – 2020
Lead applicant and co-applicants
Lead applicant: Municipality of Vrapciste (NMK); Co-applicants: – Municipality of Cerrik (Al); – Municipality of Bogovinje (NMK); – CARITAS NGO (Al);

Vrapciste, with a territory of 158 km2 and Bogovinje with more than 142 km2 are the biggest in size and in population rural municipalities in North Macedonia. Bordering as they are, they form vast territory of mountainous terrain of 8000 ha forests, left unprotected from wildfire. In addition, 30 rural settlements populated with more than 65.000 people are facing untimely fire response, thus risking people lives and their households. Just in the past three years, 121 Ha of forest was burned completely onto Vrapciste territory whereas in Bogovinje 70 Ha of forest was destroyed as well. In the last 2 years onto the Cerrik Municipality territory, 5200 Ha of forest was destroyed because of wildfires.
Most of the population concerned with the project lives in rural mountainous areas, so professional help in wildfire protection is challenged; the villages are remote and access is possible only by special forest fire-fighting vehicles. Natural disasters and wildfire are overwhelming to the local communities’ capacities to protect themselves and require organized and timely reaction by the fire departments.

Abstract (short project summary)

FIRESHIELD will contribute to overcoming the challenging cross-border context by integrated intervention in environmental protection, monitoring and risk preparedness and prevention systems in the cross-border region. Its overall objective is to contribute towards environmental protection in the CB area by upgrading the public infrastructure for risk management.

Working jointly towards the overall objective, 3 municipalities (Vrapciste and Bogovinje/NMK, Cerrik/AL) and Caritas NGO (AL), will establish fire protection system that will efficiently response to natural disasters including wildfires in the cross-border area between North Macedonia and Albania. Intervention logic foresees interrelated and intensive joint activities towards outcomes: developing joint risk management in the CB area of Vrapciste, Bogovinje and Cerrik municipality; establishing a unique inter-municipal cooperation in North Macedonia in the fire protection field; building-up capacities of the both formal and informal (voluntary) fire protection system in the CB area; sharing specific experience for wildfire protection across the borders; joint capacity building for specific expertise in natural disaster responding in the CB area and raising awareness among rural population of the man caused (deliberate pastures burning) wildfires.

Final beneficiary
Rural area population (25.000 households or 110.000 inhabitants)
Action location/s
Municipality of Vrapciste, Bogovinje and Municipality of Cerrik. – Fire department in Cerrik Municipality, – Ministry of Internal affairs in Albania (MIAA/sector for protection and rescue), – Directorate for Protection and Rescue – Municipality of Vrapciste and Bogovinje, – Municipality of Cerrik, – CSOs active in environmental protection area, – CSOs active in citizen engagement and volunteering, – Primary schools of the target area (3 central primary schools with 8200 children from 7-15 years old)

Overall objective of the project is to contribute towards environmental protection in the CB area by upgrading the public infrastructure for risk management.

Specific objectives/outcomes:

       To introduce joint risk management for (wild)fire prevention in the CB area;

       To establish unique inter-municipal fire protection system;

       To build-up capacities for responding to natural disasters in the CB area;

To raise awareness for environment protection in the CB area;


Working Package: Project management and coordination;


Working Package 1: Developing joint risk management across the borders including:

  • Developing joint plan for risk management for wildfires and fires (inclusive of risk assessment and management) for the territory of the municipalities of Vrapciste, Bogovinje and Cerrik;
  • Developing standard operations procedures (SOP) for responding to natural disasters in the CB area.


Working Package 2: Establishing a joint Fire Protection Department of Vrapciste and Bogovinje including:

  • Establishing Inter-municipal Fire Protection Department (IMFPD) in Vrapciste and Bogovinje;
  • Building a standardized joint FIRE STATION for firefighters of Vrapciste and Bogovinje;
  • Purchase of special forest fire fighting vehicle for the IMFPD;
  • Selection of 9 firefighters, special fire protection training and certification of 9 firefighters;
  • Purchase of 9 firefighters’ personal protective equipment (PPE) for IMFPD of Vrapciste and Bogovinje;


Working Package 3: Building-up capacities for responding to natural disasters in the CB area including:

  • Joint training for the 2 Fire Departments (FD) for responding to natural disasters in the CB area;
  • Joint training for the 2 FD for fire protection and wildfire suppression in the CB area;
  • Purchase of special forest fire extinguishing vehicle for Cerrik FD;
  • Purchase of 14 special fire-fighting sets for Cerrik firefighters;
  • Purchase of special natural disasters emergency response gear for Cerrik FD;
  • Establishing, training and equipping a voluntary system of 20 local people from rural areas in the CB area for emergency response to natural disasters;
  • Purchase of terrain vehicle for accessing the remote rural households of Cerrik;
  • Installation of fire alarms in the schools;


Working Package 4: Awareness raising on citizens’ involvement in wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness and response to natural disasters, including:

  • Developing joint primary school program for raising awareness on fire protection and wildfire prevention;
  • Delivering educational raising awareness program to primary schools in the cross-border area on fire protection, wildfire prevention and wildfire consequences to the environment in the CB area;
  • On-site education for the rural households on wildfire prevention;
  • On-line joint campaign on raising awareness for fire protection and wildfire prevention;
  • Delivering a joint demonstration exercise by the 2 fire departments from MK and AL on responding to natural disasters and fire protection;

Close-out event.


Joint risk management plan for wildfire and fire protection and Standard operations procedures (SOP) are developed and put in practice;

Joint fire protection department of Municipality Vrapciste and Bogovinje under the Law of inter-municipal cooperation is established;

A new FIRE STATION for the newly established fire protection inter-municipal department is built;

Special forest fire extinguishing vehicle is purchased for Vrapciste-Bogovinje fire station;

9 firefighters are employed, trained and equipped in the inter-municipal fire protection department;

23 firefighters across the border are with increased capacities for responding to natural disasters;

Special natural disaster responding gear is purchased for Cerrik fire department;

A natural disaster response voluntary system of 20 people is established and equipped, involving retired military staff and local population from rural areas in the cross-border region;

8200 primary school children are with raised awareness on forest fire prevention and wildfire consequences to the environment and fire alarms are installed in 3 primary schools;

More than 25 000 rural households and more than 110.000 people from rural areas of the cross-border area are with raised awareness on fire and wildfire prevention;

Facts & Figures

The key facts & figures relevant to the project:

  • Project duration: 30 months
  • Start date of the project: 01.02.2022
  • End date of the project: 01.08.2024


  • Cost of the action: 196,00 €
  • EU contribution: 730.316,60 €

EU contribution percentage: 85 %

Final useful footnotes

For more information: Contact: Email:;;

Tel: +389 42 332 378, 075 322 323;