Evacuees from three villages returning to their homes

Kostanjevica na Krasu – The people from the villages of Temnica, Vojščica and Novela who were evacuated this morning are returning to their homes, as firefighters continue to fight the blaze in three separated locations near the villages of Nova Vas, Vojščica and between Cerje and Trstelje.

Massive work is being done from the air as well with a Croatian water bomber again joining the operation in the afternoon along with a Slovakian helicopter.

The main goal is to keep the fire line away from the Temnica – Renče road, the regional centre of the Civil Protection for northern Primorska said.

According to the centre, more than 1,000 Slovenian firefighters have also been joined by nine Croatian.

Civil Protection boss Srečko Šestan said the firefighters were trying to prevent the fire from spreading to Trstelj.

Web portal 24ur.com reported that about 400 people had been evacuated from Temnica, Vojščica and Novela. They gathered in Komen, where around 300 beds could be secured but the Civil Protection said in the evening the situation had stabilised to the point that they will be able to spend the night in their homes.

“Local residents were evacuated because of the smoke,” 24ur.com quoted Defence Minister Marjan Šarec as saying.

Reportedly, 40 head of cattle was also evacuated.

In a statement for the STA earlier today Šestan said the emergence of new fires had been unpredictable and it was difficult to assess whether they started because of the existing blaze or some other reasons.

Šarec told the STA flying in the area was very demanding due to low visibility, so two coordinators are working to prevent collisions among helicopters and planes.

The fire is also sparking explosions of unexploded ordnance from the First World War. Darko Zonjič of the national unit for the protection against unexploded ordnance told the STA they stopped counting the explosions.

Only the explosions close to roads are being marked, and the sites will be inspected later. “There were quite a few explosions over the night as well, as the temperatures at the fire site are much higher,” he said.

Every explosive device found outside the fire zone is being eliminated, Zonjič said, noting that so far some 70 grenades had been collected. The largest mine was a 250-millimetre German-made mine, weighing 42 kilogrammes.

The Slovenian army has been helping fight the fire for the sixth day today with choppers and the Pilatus transport aircraft. In the five days, about 900,000 litres of water has been dropped to the site, the army said on its web site.