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Aerial firefighting continues to tackle blaze in Kras

Kostanjevica na Krasu, 24 July - Firefighters in the Kras region, where an extensive fire has been raging for ten days, are mopping up along the fire edge as helicopters continue to provide support from the air. The regional Civil Protection has been visited by Prime Minister Robert Golob and Defence Minister Marjan Šarec, who are being briefed on the current situation.

Brnik
Romania's Spartan aircraft is getting ready to help tackle a large blaze in Slovenia's Kras.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Brnik
Romania's Spartan aircraft is getting ready to help tackle a large blaze in Slovenia's Kras.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Brnik
Romania's Spartan aircraft is getting ready to help tackle a large blaze in Slovenia's Kras.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Kras
Expressions of gratitude for firefighters' efforts in tackling the largest blaze Slovenia has seen so far.
Photo: Regional Civil Protection

Kostanjevica na Krasu
PM Robert Golob and Defence Minister Marjan Šarec visit the regional Civil Protection in Kostanjevica na Krasu to get acquainted with the state of play regarding a large fire in Kras.
Photo: Jani Hilčer/STA

Kostanjevica na Krasu
PM Robert Golob visits the regional Civil Protection headquarters in Kostanjevica na Krasu to be briefed on the state of play regarding a large blaze in Kras.
Photo: Jani Hilčer/STA

Temnica
Firefighters continue to tackle a large blaze that has been raging in the Kras region in the west for ten days now.
Photo: Jani Hilčer/STA

Kras
Expressions of gratitude for firefighters' efforts in tackling the largest blaze Slovenia has seen so far.
Photo: Regional Civil Protection

"A helicopter is flying over the fire site to identify individual hotspots using a thermal imaging camera. Based on its data, these hotspots are then extinguished by helicopters," said Robert Okorn, the intervention's spokesman.

This work was scheduled to continue until 11am, when further decisions are expected to be taken based on the state of play.

A preventive operational headquarters was set up in the Prvačina village in the Vipava Valley on Saturday. The headquarters, which includes all the villages that are currently closest to the fire - Prvačina, Dornberk, Branik and Gradišče, is preparing activities in case the fire spreads.

The fire is being tackled by some 1,600 people today, including 1,100 firefighters from all over Slovenia, 140 members of the Slovenian Armed Forces and numerous volunteers who are taking part in a campaign to clear the fire site and create firebreaks.

A police water cannon and about ten aircraft from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Austria, Hungary and Italy are assisting in the extinguishing efforts. Three Romanian aircraft also arrived in Slovenia on Saturday to help, including two Spartan aircraft.

The safety requirement for firefighting with such aircraft is a 500-metre safety corridor without people or equipment. This type of firefighting could be used for newly-emerged fires, Srečko Šestan, the chief of the national Civil Protection, said yesterday. Spartan can drop 6,000 litres of water in one go.

Some 1,000 firefighters and around 300 members of other services managed to somewhat contain the fire yesterday with the strongest air support so far. Most of the effort took place in the Opatje Selo-Temnica-Miren and Železna Vrata-Trstelj areas, the Civil Protection said on Twitter.

Firefighters spent last night putting out individual hotspots and extinguishing all smouldering material along the fire edge. Okorn said that the night was calmer than the previous one, with the main focus on the western part of the fire near Lokvice and Kostanjevica na Krasu.

In the wee hours, there was some rain, but it did not cause any major changes on the ground. "The rain didn't help much, because everything dries out very quickly," he said.

The authorities are cautious about the forecast for today, also due to the expected bora wind that could fan the flames. No major damage to buildings has been recorded so far as only a cabin near Trstelj burnt down.

The largest fire in Slovenia's history has so far devastated more than 2,000 hectares.

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© STA, 2022