17:11 / 23.07.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Croatia helping Slovenia fight major wildfire



Foto: Miroslav Lelas / Pixsell

Croatia on Saturday again sent a canadair water-bomber and helicopter to Slovenia to help local fire-fighting forces in efforts to contain the ravaging wildfire that has been going on for days along the Slovenia-Italy border.

Croatian Defence Ministry said on Saturday that the request for assistance was forwarded to Croatia via the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism.

Croatian Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković said Croatia has been providing help for the past four days.

"The fire started in inaccessible terrain; terrain which still has anti-personnel mines left over from the First World War, which makes putting out the flames even harder. We have seventeen firefighters and two trucks on the ground, and we send on waterbomber and a helicopter there this morning. The situation is not good at all. There's a lot of smoke and things are very unpredictable. We definitely need a few more days to put this fire under control," said Tucaković.

Overnight between Friday and Saturday, over 800 local Slovenian firefighters were engaged on the ground in an effort to bring the wildfire under control, which has already affected over 2,000 hectares of land.

Ten villages have been evacuated due to thick smoke.

The disaster has taken one life so far. On Thursday evening, a 56-year-old Italian woman, who was a volunteer civil protection operative, was killed when a burned tree trunk fell on her while she was patrolling the area along the Italian-Slovenian border in the Kras region.

Slovenian Civil Protection head Srečko Šestan said two days ago that this was the largest fire in the history of independent Slovenia.

Apart from Croatia; Italy, Austria and Slovakia have sent water-bomber planes to help battle the blaze.

According to the estimates from Slovenia, the fire could to be put out next week when some rain is expected on Tuesday.

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