Inferno in Dalmatia: Blaze Spreading Towards Split, Houses on Fire, One Dead, Not Enough Help

By , 17 Jul 2017, 13:15 PM News
Inferno in Dalmatia: Blaze Spreading Towards Split, Houses on Fire, One Dead, Not Enough Help Igor Nobilo

Share this:

Large fires broke out on multiple locations in Dalmatia yesterday, July 16, 2017. The blaze is spreading towards Split, burning down pine forests, underbrush, fields and olive groves in its path. Locals are desperate for help, houses and kindergartens have burned down and one person has died.

UPDATE 

Due to heavy traffic which our server is struggling to cope with, please click here for the latest updates on the fires. 

__________________________________________

 

All volunteer fire departments in the area of Split, Solin, Kaštela, Trogir and Omiš are at the scene. Canadair planes are unable to fly today due to strong winds. 

Here is the course of events:

 

16:40 The fires in Srinjine, Gornje Sitno and Donje Sitno are still quite difficult, but fortunately at about 15:00, Canadairs took off which should help in extinguishing the fires, said Tomislav Vuko, Assistant Chief Firefighter Commander for the Coastal State Protection and Rescue Administration (DUZS), on Slobodna Dalmacija on July 17, 2017. 

Vuko said that a number of firefighters from the State Intervention Unit (DIP) will arrive and added that from the early morning hours they have been working to replace the firefighters on the ground, which is why they expect help from other counties. For now, firefighters from Dubrovnik-Neretva County and DIP Dubrovnik have arrived.

"Canadairs could not fly this morning because there was strong turbulence, so they worked on other fires, for example in Hvar, more specifically Bogomolje. At bout 15:00 the weather calmed and the Canadairs took off. There are currently two Canadairs in the field, and soon there will be a third. In the whole area of Dalmatia, we currently have 20 fires that we have put out or are under control. There are five fires in Split-Dalmatia County and in Šibenik-Knin County the same, while Zadar County is burning in four places,” Vuko said.

It is impossible to know what damage has been done so far, but for now, there is information that several houses, business premises and work machines, kindergartens, parts of the cemetery, and numerous olive groves have burned. All of the older residents, women and children, as well as some tourists who were accommodated in the surrounding apartments,  were evacuated from their homes due to the heavy smoke and the proximity of the fire. Many young and healthy residents stayed behind to help caretakers and defend homes.

14:55 "The situation is still very critical. The situation is catastrophic and the fire is still expanding. People have said that five or six houses have burned, but we could not reach them. Firefighters are trying to contain it, and Canadair help will not come due to the weather. Several firefighters have been injured. The whole area is without electricity and water, and traffic on several roads has been stopped. The situation is very, very critical,” reports Nova TV

14:20 From Sitno to Tugare there were 150 firefighters with 60 fire trucks

"There is not enough, everything will burn. You’ll see where the fire will spread,” the villagers said while the fire approached their homes just a few meters away. 

Firefighters literally jumped from place to place to protect house after house. At one point a fireman is heard calling his colleagues and saying: “People are missing, everything is missing,” reported 24sata. 

14:05 The worst is between Split and Omiš where several houses caught fire. An older man passed away while watching the fire burn through Donje Sitno. According to statements by the inhabitants, the man was an olive-grower who worked for years for everything he had. After watching the fire blaze through his crops, he died of a heart attack, most likely by shock, morksi.hr reported.

13:40 Residents of the affected area reported that the fire came very close to their home and that the Church of St. Luke in Sitno was barely saved.

13:00 A kindergarten in Srinjine burned down. The locals are desperate. “Help, our house burned down, in the end we are strong, the fire has entered between the houses,” said a local in the village of Gornje Sitno, Pave Gruica. “I ask that the Mayor, Prefect, Minister of Defense, and War Commander do what they can. We do not know what to do, we do not know who to turn to,” Gruica added.

__________________________________________________________

Numerous firefighting departments have been out in the field for more than 24 hours now, battling blazes in Šestanovac, Merčep, Vukušići and Ribičić, as well as in Brodarica near Šibenik.

At this moment, the worst conditions are seen in the inland area between Split and Omiš. A fire that broke out in Tugare village near Omiš started spreading towards Split during the night, helped by the strong bura wind. Tugare have been evacuated around 5 in the morning, and the local residents started cutting trees down to stop the fire, reported Index.

pozar

 

pozar3

 

Multiple houses burned down in the villages of Sitno Gornje and Sitno Donje. The latter has been left without running water and electricity; fields and olive groves turned to ash. Photos show the horrifying inferno and thick smoke covering the area where bura is still blowing incessantly, constantly changing direction, making it impossible for canadair aircraft to fly to the site.

pozar2

Video showing the current state in Sitno area, courtesy of Index:

The blaze in Šestanovac area is also still spreading. Last night, around 23:00, the firefighters were battling the blaze in the village of Vukušići trying to prevent the houses from catching fire, reported Slobodna Dalmacija on July 17, 2017. Dozens of residential objects were saved from the fire thanks to great efforts of the firefighting departments, as well as the local residents helping. Around fifteen firemen asked for medical attention, as their sight was slightly impaired due to high levels of ash and dust in the air.

The wind is currently blowing at the speed of 33 knots, making it impossible for canadair aircrafts to fly to the site.

The blazes are spreading over such a large area that the smoke is currently visible on satellite footage. NASA published two images taken from a 705-kilometre distance, clearly showing smoke on multiple locations in Dalmatia. You can se the Modis aqua satellite image in high resolution here, and the Modis terra image is available here.

 

Photo credit: Index.hr

Photo of the day

From Croatia with Madness

Croatia Traffic Info

  • Traffic is heavy on the roads towards the coast and the continent, on the roads to tourist centers along the coast and in ferry ports. Drivers are invited to adjust the driving speed to road conditions and also to keep the safety distance. Today (21/22 July from 10pm to 6am) on the Adriatic road (DC8) in Rijeka in the underpass Žabica traffic will be proceeding over one lane in both directions. Traffic ban on freight vehicles exceeding 7.5 t on some roads in Istria and in the coastal area: -Saturday, 22 July from 4 am to 2 am -Sunday, 23 July from noon (12:00) to 11 pm. There is no traffic ban on the motorways and on the state road DC1. Sections of the roads closed due to roadworks: -on the DC1 state road in Lučko (Zagreb) between Gornji Stupnik and Svetonedeljska street -on the state road 29 from Novi Golubovec (crossroad DC29, DC35) -on the DC502 Smilčić-Pridraga state road. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only: -on the DC1 state road in Knin until 31st July; -on the DC1 state road at Mostanje and on the section Sučević-Otrić. -on the DC8 Adriatic road on the section Zaton Doli-Bistrina; -on the DC66 Pula-Most Raša state road. With the sunny and dry weather, more and more cyclists and motorists are on the roads. Other vehicles (such as cars or trucks) should look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to moving traffic. Check your mirrors and be aware of blind spots before turning. While at a stop sign or red light, make a complete stop in order to let bikers pass, and check for unseen riders. Respect the right of way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you. Cyclists are not immune to traffic violations: pay attention to red lights and practice arm signaling!
    Read more
  • Due to roadworks in Slovenia between Ptuj and the border crossing Gruškovje (Macelj) there are occasionally queues. Expect hold-ups especially during the weekend. Due to traffic density and occasional additional controls, during the day longer waiting times are possible at the border crossings with Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary. At Harmica border crossing traffic is allowed for vehicles up to 7,5 tonnes only.
    Read more
  • All ferries and catamarans are operating according to the schedule.
    Read more

Photo galleries and videos