Wild­fires rage in Europe from Croa­tia to Por­tu­gal

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Fire­fight­ers bat­tled to douse wild­fires on the Adri­atic coast of Croa­tia and Mon­tene­gro yes­ter­day, as blazes also raged in Italy, France and Por­tu­gal. About a dozen wild­fires had bro­ken out late Sun­day in the vil­lages sur­round­ing Split, a pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion, but fire­fight­ers man­aged to con­trol the blaze on the out­skirts of Croa­tia’s sec­ond largest city.

Late Mon­day the fire spread to the sub­urbs of Split where a shop­ping cen­tre had to be evac­u­ated and sev­eral cars were burned. The city waste dump caught fire, while the town was cov­ered with thick black smoke, but the blaze was put un­der con­trol overnight. “It seems that the worst is be­hind us ... Split has been saved,” mayor An­dro Krstulovic Opara told HRT state-run tele­vi­sion.

Lo­cal me­dia re­ports how­ever said some parts of Split were without elec­tric­ity or water on Tues­day as Prime Min­is­ter An­drej Plenkovic ar­rived to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion. Ac­cord­ing to ini­tial es­ti­mates some 4,500 hectares of land, mostly pine forests, bushes and olive groves, were de­stroyed. Houses were burned but there were no ca­su­al­ties.

In neigh­bor­ing Mon­tene­gro, where the for­est fires forced the evac­u­a­tion of more than a hun­dred campers on the Lus­tica penin­sula, the sit­u­a­tion was slightly bet­ter yes­ter­day. Fires how­ever were still ac­tive in sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties fur­ther in­land but were all un­der con­trol, an in­te­rior min­istry state­ment said.

Un­der con­trol

The cause of the fires in the two coun­tries at the height of the sum­mer tourist sea­son is still not known. In Italy, au­thor­i­ties said a blaze in a pine for­est at a pop­u­lar park out­side Rome, now un­der con­trol, was de­lib­er­ately set and that a sus­pect has been ar­rested. But fires con­tinue burn in south­ern Italy in parts of the Cal­abria re­gion and in the out­skirts of Naples where one per­son died on Mon­day af­ter fall­ing off his roof where he went to look at how the for­est fire was pro­gress­ing not far from his home.

Winds, high tem­per­a­tures and dry con­di­tions prompted fires to break out the past sev­eral days in south­ern France and the Mediter­ranean is­land of Cor­sica. More than 450 fire­fight­ers were still bat­tling a for­est fire at Castag­niera, north of Nice, which has de­stroyed some 100 hectares but ap­pears not to be spread­ing fur­ther, au­thor­i­ties said. On Mon­day fire swept through around 200 hectares of scrub­land near Boni­fa­cio in south­ern Cor­sica. On Europe’s At­lantic coast nearly 1,400 fire­fight­ers sup­ported by water-bomb­ing planes and he­li­copters have bat­tled three ma­jor blazes in north­ern Por­tu­gal since Sun­day. Civil pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties say fire­fight­ers have man­aged to mostly bring the fires un­der con­trol and the weather on Tues­day was co­op­er­at­ing as tem­per­a­tures dropped from 35 de­grees Cel­sius (95 de­grees Fahren­heit) to 30 C.

Last month Por­tu­gal bat­tled a gi­ant fire in the cen­tral re­gion that raged for five days, killing 64 peo­ple and in­jur­ing more than 250, with many trapped in their cars by the flames. Fol­low­ing the tragedy, ex­perts said Por­tu­gal is likely to see more mas­sive for­est fires be­cause the coun­try is highly ex­posed to global warm­ing’s cli­mate-al­ter­ing im­pacts. — AFP

Smoke and flames rise from a fire in the vil­lage of Pod­strana, near the Adri­atic coastal town of Split. —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.