People from Kras thank all who helped fight wildfire

Kostanjevica na Krasu – The people of Kostanjevica na Krasu in the western Kras region, where the largest wildfire in Slovenia’s history raged for days, thanked everyone involved in firefighting efforts in a statement released by the regional civil protection. “The tragedy that has marked us has also united us. Help came from everywhere, courage prevailed,” they wrote.

As the remaining small fires in the area were also brought under control last night, the Kostanjevica na Krasu local community thanked all volunteer and professional firefighters, the command that operated in Kostanjevica na Krasu, air forces, civil protection, army, the Red Cross, medical teams, police officers, forest service, hunters, volunteers, the mayor and everyone else involved in efforts to fight the fire.

“Kras bows to you, we bow to you,” reads the thank you note that was released by the regional centre of the Civil Protection for northern Primorska.

The locals said the past days had been “tough, full of agony, stress and foremost despair”. They added it had been hard to say goodbye to the images of Kras they used to know.

The wildfire spread across 3,500 hectares over the course of 12 days and small hotspots still persist. The firefighting efforts involved over 12,500 firefighters and 2,500 members of support services, such as civil protection, police and military force, medics, explosives experts and air support crews, among others, an initial report by the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief showed.

The Forest Service estimates that some 2,700 hectares of forest were destroyed. Roughly half of that was pine forest and the other half was deciduous forest.

“A new period starts now, our landscape is wounded, our hearts crushed, but together we will restore life in the Peaceful Kras,” said the locals.

Danijel Cek from the regional civil protection command said the past night had been calm, including at the site of the large fire near Kostanjevica na Krasu. 49 firefighters with 18 fire engines kept night guard.

The situation will continue to be monitored and then a decision will be made whether firefighters from other regions are still needed, Cek said.

The rainfall in the region was modest and despite the forecasts of 10-15 litres of rain per square metre the region got less than 2 litres of rain for square meter.