Mon­tene­gro wild­fires rage but un­der con­trol in Croa­tia, Por­tu­gal

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Fire­fight­ers in Mon­tene­gro bat­tled for a third day yes­ter­day to douse wild­fires along the Adri­atic coast, while blazes rav­aging parts of neigh­bor­ing Croa­tia as well as Por­tu­gal were brought un­der con­trol. “We ex­pect a firefighting plane that has ar­rived from Ukraine to join in. Fires could be lo­cal­ized and put un­der con­trol dur­ing the day,” Mon­tene­grin lo­cal firefighting chief Zo­ran Babic told lo­cal me­dia. Mon­tene­gro sought in­ter­na­tional help two days ago to bat­tle the flames which broke out late Sun­day.

Swiss and Bul­gar­ian he­li­copters and a water bomb­ing plane from Is­rael were ex­pected to ar­rive later yes­ter­day. The fires on the Lus­tica penin­sula had forced the evac­u­a­tion of more than a hun­dred campers and threat­ened the neigh­bor­ing towns of Ti­vat, Herceg Novi and Ko­tor. At least 15 fires were ac­tive through­out the small Balkans coun­try, the in­te­rior min­istry said. Apart from five fires in Lus­tica and a few vil­lages, fires broke out overnight near the towns of Cet­inje, Nik­sic and the cap­i­tal Podgorica, a state­ment said.

Fur­ther north along the coast in Croa­tia, where a dozen wild­fires had also bro­ken out on Sun­day in the vil­lages sur­round­ing the pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion of Split, the sit­u­a­tion was re­turn­ing to nor­mal, of­fi­cials said. “We can­not say that (fires in Split re­gion) are ex­tin­guished but they have been lo­cal­ized,” the head of the fire­fight­ers in Split, Ivan Ko­vace­vic, said late Tues­day, adding there was no dan­ger for peo­ple and build­ings. Ac­cord­ing to Croa­tia’s firefighting com­man­der Slavko Tu­cakovic, the fires were pos­si­bly caused by sparks from elec­tric power lines. A probe has been launched to es­tab­lish the cause. The cause of the fires in Mon­tene­gro is still not known. Ma­jor for­est blazes that raged since Sun­day in north­ern Por­tu­gal were mean­while brought un­der con­trol overnight. The tem­per­a­tures dropped sig­nif­i­cantly and were due to drop to 24 de­grees Cel­sius com­par­ing to 35 C in the pre­vi­ous days. How­ever, more than 2,400 fire­fight­ers re­mained on the ground to pre­vent the fires from spread­ing again.

“The ame­lio­ra­tion of weather con­di­tions was good for fight­ing fires,” a spokes­woman of civic pro­tec­tion Pa­tri­cia Gas­par said Wednes­day, urg­ing the pop­u­la­tion, how­ever, to re­main vig­i­lant “de­spite the lull.” 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

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