Thursday, 19 August 2021

Less Wildfires in First 8 Months Than 5-Year Average, But Intensifying Lately

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - Chief firefighting commander Slavko Tucaković informed the government on Thursday that in the first eight months of 2021, 2,389 fires had occurred in areas of combustible vegetation, or 8% less than the five-year average, however in the last eight weeks, the number of wildfires has risen by 25%.

The area covered by blazes in the first eight months has been 12,207 hectares, or 54% less than the five-year average.

However, extreme weather conditions have fuelled wildfires in the last eight weeks, and as a result the area consumed by those fires has increased by 385%.

The highest number of blazes in rural areas has been registered in Šibenik-Knin County, seven to date.

The biggest wildfire this years has been in the Split hinterland, when it burnt an area 1,643 hectares large near the village of Seget Gornji.

Lion's share of wildfires put out within four hours

Tucaković said that as many as 87% of wildfires in the Croatian coastal area had been extinguished within four hours, which could be interpreted as evidence of the good engagement of firefighting services.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that firefighters' interventions in the coastal and Karst regions lasted 2.23 hours on average this year, while in 2020 this average was 3.37 hours.

Croatia's firefighting planes have been deployed abroad to put out fires six times so far this year: once in Greece and once in Turkey and four times in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The allocated funds in the state budget for firefighting services stand at HRK 104 million (€14 million) and so far this year 62 million kuna (€8.3 million) has been disbursed, Defence Minister Mario Banožić said. 

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

President Zoran Milanović Visits Wildfire Sites at Seget Gornji

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović, accompanied by Chief Firefighting Commander Slavko Tucaković, visited on Wednesday by helicopter locations devastated by wildfires at Seget Gornji, inland from the southern coastal town of Trogir, the President's Office said in a press release.

Before visiting the fire sites, Milanović discussed the situation at wildfire locations at Seget Gornji and in Mirlović in Šibenik-Knin County with local firefighting officials.

Firefighting representatives briefed the president about the efforts firefighters had made so far, and the assistance provided by the Croatian Army.

The president thanked the firemen and all those who helped put out the wildfires.

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Thursday, 1 July 2021

Construction of Regional Training Centre for Firefighters Inaugurated

ZAGREB, 30 June 2021 - Construction works on a regional training center for fire-fighters were inaugurated in Brčići in the Vučevica area on Wednesday as part of the Firespill project, which is part of the Italian-Croatian cross-border cooperation program.

The HRK 120 million project is financed with EU funds, including 65 million envisaged for projects in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

Inaugurating the works, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the government gave the land on which the center was being built, thereby contributing to the development of that area.

He said Brčići was a good location as it was close to the Operational Fire Command in Divulje, the main fire command in the country, and that he was "confident it is another good example of utilizing European Union funds."

Plenković said the new training center for firefighters was an important project for Split-Dalmatia County and all of Croatia was it would raise fire-fighting to a new level.

He said his cabinet had strengthened fire-fighting and that Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković managed an annual budget of HRK 450 million.

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Monday, 21 June 2021

This Year European Firefighting Fleet Comprises 11 Planes, 6 Helicopters

June 21st, 2021 - The European firefighting fleet will consist of 11 firefighting planes, including two from Croatia, and six helicopters, for this year's wildfire season, the European Commission said on Monday.

The rescEU firefighting fleet will consist of two firefighting airplanes from Croatia, two from Greece, two from Italy, two from Spain, and six firefighting helicopters from Sweden. This comes in addition to one firefighting airplane from France and two from Sweden, which is part of the rescEU fleet on a long-term basis.

"Ahead of this year's forest fire season, we must do all that is necessary to reduce the impact of fires. Therefore, our proposed rescEU firefighting fleet will include 11 planes and 6 helicopters and can be readily deployed any time during this forest fire season," said Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič.

The season's risk for forest fires is forecasted to be above average, with temperatures expected to be higher-than-average from June to September in the Mediterranean region, the Commission said. The season might also see less rainfall, especially in central Europe and many areas of the Mediterranean, it added.

For more, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Firefighters Hold Annual Pilgrimage to Marian Shrine of Marija Bistrica

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - Over 1,200 firefighters from Croatia went on pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Marija Bistrica on Sunday, with several high-ranking officials attending this 22nd traditional pilgrimage.

Addressing the pilgrims before the mass, War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved recalled the huge contribution of firefighters not only to efforts to put out wildfires and fires but also to efforts to deal with the post-quake situations in 2020 and to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chief fire commander Slavko Tucaković thanked the government for the procurement of 450 new vehicles for the firefighting system.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Firefighter Whose Petrinja Rescue Dog Was Poisoned Given New Puppy

January 26, 2021 – Firefighter Srđan Botica from Slano near Dubrovnik was inconsolable after his hero Petrinja rescue dog Alice was poisoned a few days ago. Although irreplaceable, Srđan's friends could no longer stand by and watch him grieve undeservedly, so they bought a brand new Belgian Shepherd puppy to cheer him up

Srđan Botica was inconsolable after the death of his dog, Alice. Although she was still quite young, Alice and Srđan had built a strong bond between them. The training required for a dog like Alice to become a specialist search and rescue dog will have that kind of effect. The relationship Srđan established with Alice was strengthened both in his workplace, where Srđan is a firefighter and at home, which is where Srđan brought Alice each evening.

The final test of the pair's attachment was to be the rubble left in the aftermath of the Sisak Moslavina earthquake. Srđan volunteered to travel from Dubrovnik to help in the response. Alice became a Petrinja rescue dog, scouring the damaged and fallen buildings for survivors. The inseparable pair stayed for six days undertaking their work.

ScreenshotaliceandSrdan.pngSrdan and Alice at work after the earthquake

As TCN was saddened to report over recent days, the partnership of Srđan Botic and his Petrinja rescue dog Alice was tragically cut short within weeks of their return. Alice was poisoned on the streets of her home in Slano, near Dubrovnik.

Though Petrinja rescue dog Alice was one of a kind and can never be replaced, the friends of firefighter Srđan Botica could no longer sit by and watch his undeserved grief. Over the last couple of days they clubbed together and bought Srđan a new dog. Srđan's new housemate goes by the name of Amy and she's still just a puppy. Amy is a Belgian Shepherd, the exact same breed as Petrinja rescue dog Alice.

It is probably still too early to say whether Amy will follow in Alice's pawsteps to become a search and rescue dog. But, Belgian Shepherds are one of the best-known breeds for this kind of work. They are used as search and rescue dogs by firefighters and mountain rescue in many countries, and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery and they are very protective of their owners and handlers.

The US Secret Service, Israel Defence Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd Sniffs Out Wanted Man in Split

Saturday, 5 September 2020 – More than 100 policemen were searching for the escaped man, but in the end it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd that sniffed him out.

When detainee Branimir Čaleta managed to escape from custody on September 2, armed police were immediately on his tail. They knew where to look – he was seen running in the direction of Turska kula and the Park Mladosti in Split, near the Poljud football stadium.

But, though more than 100 officers were searching for the wanted man, in the end, it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd called Flip that sniffed him out.

TC Perch.jpg
The Malinois Belgian Shepherd is used by armed services, the police and for search and rescue all over the world © TC Perch

Details of Flip's assistance were revealed in an interview undertaken with the dog's handler, Split firefighter Joško Čule by the 24 sata news outlet. Although he was not allowed to reveal details of the fugitive's capture, Joško did speak about his dog.

Flip is a search dog of the Public Fire Brigade of the City of Split, a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd. He was trained to search in all environments, from urban areas and ruins to wild nature, and in all weather conditions. He is a family dog, loves spending time with children, and with the firefighters. He is an active member of the firefighting team in Split and works every day. Flip is taken into the field when necessary and has so far participated in four searches for lost people. He found them all.

This firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is just one of the types of Belgian Shepherd. The other three are called Groenendael, Laekenois, and Tervuren. In Belgium, their country of origin, all four types are considered to be varieties of a single breed, differentiated by hair color and texture. Elsewhere, they are sometimes considered separate breeds.

Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is typical in having tan to brown short hair with patches of black. Belgian Shepherd Dogs are highly intelligent, alert, and sensitive to everything going on around them, and they form very strong relationship bonds. They are loyal, intelligent, fun, make good family pets and are very receptive to being trained, thus explaining the position of this firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.

mariuszopole.jpg
A Belgian Shepherd with a close relative, a Dutch Shepherd © Marius Zopole 

It is not only firefighters who use these dogs. They are used as search and rescue dogs by other services and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Malinois Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery. They are very protective of their owners and handlers.

The US Secret Service, Israel Defense Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Malinois Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.

The fugitive Branimir Čaleta ran away from police while he was at court in Split, where he was appearing charged with the murder of his one-time girlfriend, a Ukrainian national. Čaleta is now back in custody, thanks to Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.

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Monday, 17 August 2020

Number Of Wildfires 16% Down From 2019, Area Consumed By Fires Larger

ZAGREB, Aug 17, 2020 - Since the start of 2020, a total of 39,111 hectares of land have been consumed by 4,693 fires, which is a 16% drop in the number of wildfires, however, the area consumed by fires is 20% larger, the Croatian Firefighting Association has said.

Statistics for the coastal and karst regions are even higher, with a total of 3,294 fires having been reported by August 15. This is an increase of about 2% compared to last year, but a total of 30,455 hectares of land were consumed, as much as 69% more than in 2019.

Chief firefighting commander Slavko Tucakovic has said that the fire season is still underway and that all forces are still active in the field. Thunderstorms have been the most frequent cause of this year's fires, he said.

Apart from putting out fires, firefighters have also had more than 500 interventions to remove the consequences of recent rainstorms in Zagreb and neighbouring counties.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Rainstorm Hits Zagreb, Prompts Dozen Interventions by Firefighters

ZAGREB, Aug 15, 2020 - A rainstorm accompanied by hail on Friday evening hit Zagreb, causing minor problems and prompting a dozen interventions by firefighting units.

The city firefighting service said that firefighters had mostly been called in to help pump out water from flooded facilities and remove trees felled by the storm.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Firefighters Respond to 41 Emergency Calls as Hail Storm Hits Zagreb

ZAGREB, July 27, 2020 - A hail storm hit Zagreb around 8 pm on Sunday, leaving many properties and streets flooded. 

Firefighters responded to 41 emergency calls, mostly to pump out the water and remove fallen trees, the national fire service said on Monday.

This is the second time in two days that a torrential rain caused flooding in the capital after a heavy storm struck during the night between July 25 and 26.

The director of the children's hospital, Goran Roic, told Hina that the hospital's basement and canteen were flooded again. He said that hospital staff continued to provide health care without interruption.

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