Forest Fires Hit Several Balkan Countries

As the hot, dry weather continues, forest fires are breaking out throughout the Western Balkans, claiming one life in Croatia and injuring dozens elsewhere.Three people are fighting for lives after suffering severe burns and another 11 were injured in a wildfire that raged on Monday night near the southeastern Macedonian town of Strumica, threatening to engulf its outskirts.

The injured, including five children and one firefighter, were caught by the nearby blaze that spread fast in the dry wind, authorities say.Firefighting planes could not intervene owing to the heavy winds and only the rain that suddenly started to fall prevented the fire from spreading to the town.

Authorities on Tuesday said rain had quenched the blaze.
Meanwhile, on Monday, a 45-year-old firefighter died while extinguishing a blaze that broke out near Moscenicka Draga, on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula.

The fire broke out in the hinterland of Rijeka, some 110 miles southwest of the capital, Zagreb, and spread toward Selce.

About 1,500 tourists, mostly Slovenians and Austrians, were evacuated from two campsites, while a number of others left a nearby hotel, officials said.

“We are doing everything possible to protect people’s lives and property,” Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told the commercial Nova television station.

“Everything is ready for [further] evacuations,” added the minister, who visited the coastal resort where some 150 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Croatia’s coast is regularly hit by forest fires during the tourist season.

In Montenegro on Monday morning a fire broke out at a refugee camp in the Podgorica settlement of Konik, burning down a number of barracks that house Roma refugees from Kosovo.

Fire crews are still trying to rein in the fire.

During the weekend, in the north of Montenegro, the forests surrounding the town of Pljevlja and on the mountain of Durmitor, also saw fires that have since been contained.

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