More than 300 battling wildfire in Kras

Renče – More than 300 firefighters are battling a wildfire in the north-western Kras, near the border with Italy, helped by four choppers, two from Slovenia and two from Italy, and a Croatian water bomber.

The fire broke out shortly before 10am on Sunday in the steep and hard to access terrain above Renče in the Vipava Valley, spreading toward the village of Temnica, but then the bora wind changed its direction.

Speaking for the STA, Simon Vendramin, the head of the intervention, said the fire then spread toward the village of Kostanjevica na Krasu and Cerje. Due to the dry vegetation and the strong wind the flames have been spreading fast.

A national action plan for major fires in the natural environment has been activated with firefighters from the Ljubljana and Gorenjska regions deployed to help their colleges from the Primorska region, the Regional Civil Protection said.

The release said the fire site already measured more than three and a half kilometres in length, and was expanding by about one kilometre every two hours due to the wind.

Shortly after 4pm, a Croatian Canadair was deployed to drop water on the fire site. Each time it skims 6,000 litres of seawater from the Trieste Bay.

Since there is still much unexploded ordnance from the First World in the area, one of the locations of the Isonzo Front, demining technicians have also been deployed. Red Cross first teams are also on the site.

It is not yet clear what caused the fire, which comes only two days after firefighters managed to put out a fire nearby with the help of two helicopters.

Radio Slovenija quoted Miren-Kostanjevica Mayor Mavricij Humar in warning the public not to try to get near the fire and to mind the fire engines and move away to let them pass.