Friday, 3 January 2020

Government Adopts 2020 Fire Protection Programme

ZAGREB, January 3, 2020 - The Croatian Government on Friday adopted the 2020 fire protection programme, which will increase the seasonal reimbursement from 3,500 kuna (473 euro) to 4,000 (540 euro) per firefighter.

The Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Firefighting Association are in charge of executing, coordinating, monitoring and directing all activities related to the implementation of the programme.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, who is in charge of coordinating the Homeland Security System, said that it was a big step forward to adopt the programme at the beginning of the year. During previous years the programme was not adopted until the second quarter of the year.

"This will allow for an even better preparation and prevention for the forthcoming fire season. Now we have six months to prepare for the 2020 fire season," Krstičević said.

He stated that the Ministry of Defence had at its disposal six Canadair aircraft, six Air Tractors, a Pilatus and two transport helicopters as well up to two hundred ground force personnel ready to respond within an hour, if needed, as well as additional forces of up to a thousand personnel for firefighting activities.

More news about the firefighting efforts can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Boranka Volunteer Reforestation Campaign Presented Near Zadar

Last week, the second year of activities for the Boranka volunteer campaign was announced in a press conference near Zadar.

As we reported in 2018, Boranka is the most prominent volunteer reforestation campaign, taking place in Dalmatia on the land that was destroyed in forest fires which happen regularly in Croatia during the summer. It was started last year primarily by the Croatian Scouts Association, in cooperation with Croatian Forests and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS). During its inaugural year, it got together over two and a half thousand volunteers, regenerating the forests around Split and Solin during eight weekends of work, using 25 thousand young trees.

The press conference announcing the "new season" of the very successful campaign was announced at the nursery garden Piket, in Zemunik Donji near Zadar. That piece of information is probably enough to understand what the most important news regarding this year's Boranka campaign is: it's coming to Zadar County! After the press conference, the journalists took a tour of the nursery garden, which will supply all of the young trees used in this year's reforestation campaign. This year, the organizers are planning to plant over 40 thousand trees in Split-Dalmatia and Zadar counties, and include over 4000 volunteers.

The campaign also has an educational aspect, as many lectures and educations on the importance of forests, nature preservation, fire prevention, and climate change have been organized in preschools and schools in Dalmatia, attended by over 5000 children. There's also a creative part of the campaign, and you can learn more about how you can participate at the campaign's website www.boranka.hr, and to join as a volunteer, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Four weekends have been announced for this year, as follows:

  • October 5, 6 - Split (Žrnovnica)
  • October 12, 13 - Solin (Kučine)
  • October 26, 27 - Split (Sitno Gornje)
  • November 9, 10 - Zadar (Kožino)
Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Minister Calls on Emergency Services to Be on Alert until End of Fire Season

ZAGREB, August 20, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević on Tuesday stated that the relevant services had to be on alert in the next two months until the end of this year's fire season and that a thousand soldiers were also at the disposal to quickly help to put out fires.

Krstičević, who was addressing fire-fighters during his tour of the Divulje fire-fighting operational command centre, called on services to be on alert until the end of the fire-fighting season so that the large wildfires such had been on the Pelješac peninsula last September would not be repeated.

The Croatian Army is here to assist fire-fighters and 200 soldiers can react within an hour and one thousand can be available within three hours, the minister said.

He underlined the importance of the Divulje centre which receives all the necessary information in real time to make decisions on engaging forces to react to fires. He also highlighted the use of drones over the past month which significantly contributed to preventing fires.

Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković said that this season recorded the second highest number of fires in the past ten years but they weren't as fierce as those in 2017.

"This year about 32,000 hectares has been burnt which is about the size of the island of Hvar, of that about 18,000 hectares was along the coast," said Tucaković.

More news about firefighting in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Croatia and Portugal to Cooperate in Fighting Wildfires

ZAGREB, July 11, 2019 - Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and Portugal's Defence Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho on Wednesday signed an agreement in Lisbon regarding cooperation in the area of defence, including cooperation between fire-fighting squadrons, the Croatian Defence Ministry reported in a press release.

In addition to cooperation between fire-fighting squadrons, the two ministers also agreed cooperation within the framework of EU membership in the areas of homeland security, the navy, military education and the defence industry, the press release said.

Minister Krstičević informed Cravinho of Croatia's homeland security system and of Croatia's strategy in fighting wildfires.

"Croatia adopted a National Security Strategy and we set up a homeland security system in an effort to be more efficient in the fight against natural disasters and security challenges. We are prepared to share our experience with Portugal," said Krstičević, as carried by the press release.

"We have a similar climate and experience in fighting wildfires. In 2013, Croatia assisted Portugal in putting out wildfires. We have excellent fire-fighting squadron pilots and we can be of assistance," added Krstičević.

The ministers discussed chairmanship of the EU, considering that that task awaits both countries. Croatia will chair the EU in the first half of 2020 while Portugal will chair it in the first half of 2021.

Minister Krstičević informed Cravinho of Croatia's priorities during its chairmanship, which will focus on continuing with the implementation of existing initiatives such as PESCO, the European defence fund and military mobility, the industrial dimension of defence, further efforts by the EU in southeast Europe, and strengthening cooperation between the EU and NATO, the press release said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Portugal can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Croatia Joins RescEU Firefighting Fleet

ZAGREB, May 23, 2019 - Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on Thursday signed a letter of intent on the continuation of cooperation between the ministry and the European Commission on setting up the rescEU civil protection mechanism and an agreement on direct allocation of EU funds for the capacities Croatia has contributed to this new European system to tackle natural disasters.

Stylianides said that the rescEU mechanism was expanding and announced the establishment of the first joint European firefighting fleet, which will be ready for this year's forest fire season.

Croatia is one of the first members that has joined the fleet with two firefighting planes. That is an example of European solidarity. With rescEU we are showing our desire and commitment to enhance the system of protection. Croatia's forces are brilliant. They are true heroes who deal with fires and other disasters without human losses. Truly, congratulations Croatia. Our aim is solidarity, protection of EU citizens and saving of lives, Stylianides said in Split.

Minister Božinović underscored that activities related to the single EU policy were continuing, as could be seen in Split after the big wildfires in 2017 as well as other parts of Croatia and Europe.

He stressed that procedures had been stepped up to establish a mechanism that would combine forces at the European level through the rescEU mechanism and that Croatia had been very active from the very start.

Božinović said that Croatia had made the necessary changes to its civil protection system to integrate all services and added that the government had considered ways of enhancing Croatia's visibility within the EU even more.

"Croatia has participated in the creation of a new European policy from the start and the public has been able to follow that from the very first day. In the period from 2021 to 2027 the EU plans to set aside 1.5 million euro for the protection and rescue sector. We have been recognised as one of the leading nations due to our long tradition that we have also due to weather and other conditions. On the one hand, we have been creating a European policy that has become a reality and on the other hand, we have organised ourselves so that both Croatia and Europe could have the most benefit," Božinović said.

He recalled that the government had embarked on equipping firefighters and would continue with other forces and show solidarity at the European level.

Croatia will contribute two Canadair firefighting aircraft and will primarily be used to put out fires in Croatia but will also be made available for operations outside the country if required, he said.

Until now, the costs of Canadair services were covered from the state budget whereas with today's agreement, the EU has set aside 1.9 million euro for logistics, maintenance, spare parts and operating costs of firefighting aircraft.

It is important that Croatia has been recognised at the EU level and that it has its heroes who put out fires and save people's lives, the minister added.

More news about firefighting in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Croatia Boasts 150 Years of Organised Firefighting System

ZAGREB, May 4, 2019 - On the occasion of the Feast Day of Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, the Croatian Firefighting Association held a special meeting on Saturday in the town of Marija Bistrica.

Addressing the event, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that the organised firefighting system had been existing in Croatia for some 150 years and added that this was one of the brands that made Croatia recognisable abroad.

"The task of the government is to help upgrade the system, and since large forest fires in 2017, we have been conducting activities and talks to this aim," Božinović said.

We have decided to connect and coordinate all emergency services so that they can be used most efficiently in cases of great disasters, the minister said.

"Being the strongest and the largest organisation, the Firefighting Association has a special place in that," he added.

Božinović said that last year, 38 million euro of non-repayable funds from the EU were transferred to Croatia's firefighting sector for the purchase of vehicles and telecommunication equipment.

The Firefighting Association president, Ante Sanader, said that 60,000 firefighters presented the strength and safety and security for citizens.

More news about fires in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

International Firefighting Exercise Taking Place on Cres island

ZAGREB, April 9, 2019 - A European Union firefighting exercise, Modex Cres 2019, is being held on the northern Adriatic island of Cres on April 7-10, and a part of the exercise, involving about 300 firefighters from a dozen EU countries and designed to demonstrate joint action by international forces, was presented to reporters on Monday.

This is the first EU exercise focusing on wildfires and it is part of the EU project "Romex" and of activities of the EU Mechanism of Civil Protection, which are designed to promote cooperation between member-states in cases of large-scale natural disasters and technological and environmental emergencies.

Of 34 member-countries, about a dozen are involved in the exercise in Cres, with firefighters from Croatia, Greece, Spain, France, Austria, Romania, Italy and Bulgaria participating directly.

The purpose of the firefighting exercise on Cres, to last without interruption for 52 hours, is to show whether Europe is prepared for big wildfires as recent ones in Sweden and Greece.

The emphasis of the exercise is not on technical capacity but on strategy, planning, tactics, operation efficiency, cooperation, orientation in unfamiliar terrain and flexibility.

The exercise is also part of a pilot project for advanced regional cooperation in extraordinary civilian situations, co-financed with funds from NATO's Science for Peace and Security Programme.

Preparations for the exercise were carried out by the Croatian Firefighting Association, in cooperation with the Romanian consortium CN APELL and the town of Cres.

The participating firefighters are using the Next-Generation Incident Command System, an advanced information system for the management of crisis situations, developed by the US Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate.

After the exercise was demonstrated, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides thanked Croatia for hosting the exercise, which he described as excellent, pointing to the importance of readiness and solidarity.

Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said that Croatia had not been chosen to host the exercise by chance.

We have shown that we are among the very best, we are demonstrating solidarity and expect it when needed, Božinović said, adding that as part of a transitional mechanism Croatia would make available, for use outside of its borders, two firefighting planes and two police helicopters.

That means that we will get from the EU funds to cover 75% of the cost of our assistance, including maintenance, fuel and other costs, in the amount of around 2 million euros, Božinović said, adding that Croatia had helped before as well but that it had covered the cost of its assistance from its own budget.

He stressed that wildfires no longer affected only the south of Europe and that close to 5,000 Europeans were killed in natural disasters in the last five years. There were 138 major natural disasters, with losses amounting to more than EUR 20 billion, he said, adding that protection and rescue funds would be higher in the next multiannual framework, in excess of 1.3 billion kuna.

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, who also attended the demonstration, said that security was one of the most important reasons why tourists visited Croatia and that it was important to show them that Croatia was part of a big European security basin.

National firefighting commander Slavko Tucaković said that more than 600 participants were accredited for the exercise, that the EU had financed the project with 45,000 euro and that it involved all homeland security components - firefighters from five Croatian counties, Air Force members, members of the Red Cross and others.

More news about firefighting in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

First EU Firefighting Exercise to Be Held on Cres

ZAGREB, April 3, 2019 - The first international firefighting exercise in the history of the EU, MODEX CRES 2019, is being held on the island of Cres on April 7-10, with firefighters from Croatia and seven other European countries participating.

A press conference held in Rijeka on Tuesday heard that the MODEX CRES 2019 exercise will continue for 52 hours and will cover the entire island.

The exercise will include 300 firefighters with more than a hundred vehicles as well as Croatian and Italian Canadair aircraft. The exercise is part of the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism and is aimed at improving cooperation between member states during interventions in natural disasters.

Croatia's chief fire officer Slavko Tucaković described the exercise as a historic event and yet another opportunity to check the country's homeland security system.

Large wildfires around Europe last year were a warning about the importance of international cooperation and coordination of firefighting services, Tucaković said. This exercise will test capabilities of receiving firefighting teams from other countries, their transport, communication, mobility, joint actions and logistic support, he added.

Vehicles and firefighters will be transported on regular ferry lines as well as landing craft. Firefighters will also practice helicopter landing and test IT systems for crisis management and the use of drones, he added.

More news on fire-fighting in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Afforestation Drive Rehabilitates Fire-Devastated Areas of Dalmatia

The first area to be treated is part of the Mosor mountain, which was devastated in last year’s fires.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Wildfire Response Receives High Marks

ZAGREB, September 27, 2018 - The government on Thursday congratulated the entire fire-fighting sector and local government on their response to recent wildfires on the Marjan hill overlooking Split and in Orebić, Kula Norinska, Posedarje and Konavle along the coast.

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