Kras in the grip of wildfire yet again

Ljubljana – While a major wildfire in the NW part of the Kras region was brought under control on Monday, new fires broke out in the area today, in particular in the Miren-Opatje Selo area with the fire spreading across the border to Italy. More than 200 firefighters are battling the flames along with rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.

News of the wildfire, which erupted right next to where Friday’s Kras fire first started and is raging along the railway line as well, comes after two days of firefighting efforts in the area, which involved over 500 firefighters as well as two Italian and three Slovenian helicopters. A Croatian water bomber was also deployed on Sunday.

The new fire is about 200 hectares in size with the firefighters keeping it above the Lokvica-Devetaki road on the Italian side, which is closed to traffic, as is the road between the villages of Lokvica and Miren. For safety reasons the power line has also been disconnected from the grid, the Regional Civil Protection headquarters reported.

Three Slovenian helicopters and the Pilatus PC 5 transport aircraft have also been deployed as has the national unit for the protection against unexploded ordnance.

On the Italian side of the border fires broke out at several locations along the railway.

Slovenian firefighters are also helping battle the flames on the other side of the border.

An additional problem is major damage to the Opatje Selo-Sela water supply network. The Civil Protection said all hydrants in the area that supplied the firefighting units so far are empty. Water is being transported from nearby areas.

President Borut Pahor visited today the site of the fire that erupted nearby on Sunday and was said to have been brought under control on Monday after it had come about half a kilometre close to the village of Lokvica.