Wildfire in Ajdovščina area contained

Ajdovščina – A bushfire has swept through a grassy area on the slopes of the Gora mountain near Ajdovščina in western Slovenia. Firefighters have managed to contain the fire, but it will not be completely extinguished until the first rainfall. It is believed that the fire was caused by ashes that were thrown out while still containing glowing embers.

The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon on a hard-to-access terrain above the Ajdovščina-Col road. Some 140 firefighters from four firefighting associations were initially dispatched to the scene, and a Slovenian Armed Forces helicopter also arrived to help with the firefighting.

Blaž Mlečnik, the head of the firefighting effort, told the STA on Monday afternoon that the fire was still burning, but it had been contained and it was expected that the first rainfall would do the rest and put it out completely. Until then a fire watch will have to remain there to keep an eye on the situation, he added.

According to the initial police findings, the fire was caused by ashes still containing glowing embers that are believed to have been left next to one of the residential houses in the village Col by an older resident. The charcoal flared up again, likely due to the bora wind, and ignited dry grass and shrubs in the area, Nova Gorica Police spokesman Dean Božnik told the STA.

The police will launch a procedure against the elderly man for violating the regulation on the protection against wildfires, and he is expected to be slapped with a fine of between EUR 200 and EUR 600.

Since Sunday afternoon, the fire has spread over more than 50 hectares of mainly grassland with undergrowth and individual trees. According to Mlečnik, there has been no danger to nearby villages or infrastructure, and traffic on the Ajdovščina-Col road running smoothly.

A nationwide warning due to a high risk of wildfires has been in place for a week now due to a long spell of dry weather.