New fire breaks out in Kras, flames fanned by wind

Kostanjevica na Krasu – Firefighters kept putting out flames rekindled at the site of the huge wildfire in Kras for the third night running after the fire was contained on Sunday as a new fire broke out on the other side of Trstelj, the area’s highest peak. Preliminary data show the fire was caused by lightning.

The regional Civil Protection headquarters said the new fire started at around 1am above the village of Šibelji in the Komen municipality, on the slope of a 567-metre hill called Veliki Ovčjak. The flames are being fanned by winds and are spreading toward the Železna Vrata pass and Trstelj (643m).

The new fire broke out on the part of the ridge that has so far not been affected by the wildfire that was contained on Sunday after destroying more than 3,500 hectares of brush, meadows and other types of farmland.

By the afternoon, firefighters had managed to contain the fire almost completely except for the northern side of the fire, which is not yet fully under control, the head of the intervention Blaž Turk told reporters.

Spanning about 20 hectares, the fire is being controlled by 179 firefighters and two army helicopters.

The firefighting in what is a steep terrain is obstructed by a strong bora wind. The head of the fire was localised about a kilometre away from the previous fire so the flames could not have jumped over.

Due to suspicion of arson, police officers and investigators are inspecting the site and gathering information about the cause of the fire with data gathered so far suggesting that the fire was caused by lightning, according to the General Police Administration.

The long-expected rain on Tuesday did little to help the firefighters keeping watch over the site of the largest fire in Slovenia’s history. Just after 5am this morning a hot spot was detected above Miren and all the units active during the night were deployed there. During the night 58 firefighters were on the site after 143 battled the flames on Tuesday with the help of 44 fire engines.

In total, more than 10,000 firefighters have so far been involved in the effort to put out the Kras wildfire as well as aircraft from several countries.