Preddvor – More than 260 firefighters assisted with four army helicopters are struggling on Wednesday to put out a major forest fire which broke out on Monday at 4pm in Gorenjska region. The fire on Potoška Gora and Baba hills near the town Preddvor some 30 km north of Ljubljana is under control. The firefighters are now focussing on individual hotspots.
The firefighters made a major breakthrough in extinguishing and containing the fire yesterday when they were helped by three Slovenian army helicopters and a Croatian water bomber, said Bojan Kos, a PR officer from the Kranj Police Department.
The fire has engulfed around 700 hectares of steep and hard-to-access terrain, so airborne assistance is invaluable, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.
Since the fire could spread under the soil, water needs to be poured on the area, soil dug up and the hotspots extinguished, explained Andraž Šifrer, head of the firefighting effort and commander of the Kranj Firefighter and Rescue Service.
The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) helicopters are expected to help out until the evening with around 20 firefighters to remain on the site during the night.
The Croatian Canadair CL-415 meanwhile returned to Croatia yesterday due to dusk, and was not used today.
The ministry said that two SAF helicopters, which joined the effort already on Monday, dropped 50,000 litres of water on the fire site in 50 overflights. They draw water from near-by Lake Črnava near Preddvor.
Three firefighters were injured on Monday, while residential areas were not at stake and no evacuation was needed.
Locals are meanwhile advised not to go to the site of the fire until further notice because it is said to be “very dangerous”.