Summer fires may threaten cities again due to unworked land

NEWS 27.04.2018 10:15
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Source: N1

Head of the Croatian Firefighting Association (HVZ), Ante Sanader, warned on Friday that a large forest fire similar to the one that broke out in central Dalmatia last summer could possibly happen again.

In July 2017 a large forest fire went on for day in parts of central Dalmatia, and at one point threatened the outskirts of Croatia’s second city of Split before being put under control by efforts of hundreds of volunteer firefighters called in from all over the country.

Asked to comment whether something similar could happen this year, Sanader told N1 that he could not rule it out, although he praised efforts by the state-owned forest management company Hrvatske Sume to clear new fire paths in areas that might pose the biggest fire hazard.

“It (large fire) is a possibility, because unworked farming areas are out biggest problem, and we haven’t really noticed any increase in people working their plots of land. Hrvatske Sume have really made an effort, kudos to them, they have been doing all they can, they were granted extra funds to clear new fire paths, but by far the biggest problem in Dalmatia is unworked farming land, which is mostly privately owned,” Sanader said.

Sanader said that unworked farming areas are a problem across the country, especially those in the outskirts of cities, as they help spread fires and make containing them much more difficult.

“When a fire breaks out in such an area, it tends to spread. You can see for yourself, when you go to outskirts of any large city, even in Zagreb, people keep all sorts of stuff (that are a fire hazard) right next to their homes, as well as unworked plots of land that come right up to their houses, and that’s very dangerous. You asked about whether a large fire is possible – sure, a fire could spread to threaten homes, and it’s the same situation around all major cities, and even more so in smaller towns that have unworked land next to them,” Sanader added.

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