Fire in Slovenia Causing Thick Smoke in Istria, Croatia

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Slovenian Army / Screenshot
Slovenian Army / Screenshot

July 21, 2022 – The fire in Slovenia is the worst in the country’s history. A look at the latest updates and the impact it is having on Istria. 

Overnight, 800 firefighters brought the biggest fire in Slovenian history under control. However, the situation is still difficult. Due to the wind, the fire is moving from Italy towards Slovenia.

Latest updates from

Minister of Defense: The situation has worsened in the last few hours
“In the last few hours, the situation has worsened; extinguishing fires from the air is greatly hampered by poor visibility. The headquarters determines measures depending on the development of the fire. Three settlements have been evacuated: Novelo, Temnica, and Vojščica. At the moment, our main task is protecting buildings,” the Minister of Defense Marjan Šarec announced on Twitter. 

According to the locals, the fire has already approached Vojščica – about 300 meters, which can be seen from the increasingly thick smoke, soot, and ash, reports a 24ur journalist.

Helicopters from Austria, Croatia, and Slovakia arrive to help
It is expected that around 1,000 firefighters and several helicopters, including four Slovenian army and two police helicopters, will fight the fire. A helicopter from Austria is already putting out the fire, and Croatian and Slovak helicopters are also on the way.

The fire also threatens settlements in Italy
The fire is threatening the Slovenian Kras region and spreading to the Italian side. It threatens the inhabitants of the villages of Sablici, Jamiano, Medeazza, and Doberdo. Slovenian and Italian firefighters are trying to protect the mentioned locations.

At Medeazza, according to the head of Duino-Aurisina, Igor Gabrovec, the fire is only a kilometer away from the settlement. The highway in the direction of Trieste has reopened today, while the section in the direction of Venice is still closed.

Numerous explosions in the area of the fire, exploding devices from the First World War
A fire in the Kars area caused numerous explosions of devices that remained in that region from the First World War. Commander Darko Zonjič said they no longer count explosions but only mark them along roads so they can be recorded later.

“Even during the night, there were a lot of explosions due to high temperatures in the area affected by the fire. Yesterday, 18 different explosive devices were removed from the villages of Sela na Krasu and Korita,” said Zonjič.

Civil protection headquarters: Three fires are currently active
The Slovenian Civil Protection Headquarters announced that three fires are currently active. Firefighters are most concerned about the fire in Klarići, a hamlet near the Italian border. More than 1,000 firefighters are on the ground.

Sirens sounded for the evacuation of residents
Evacuation sirens sounded in three villages in the Kras region; Temnica, Vojščica, and Novelo. The place for gathering citizens from those areas is the gymnasium in Komno, the Civil Protection HQ announced.

Civil Protection Commander: This is the biggest fire in the history of Slovenia
Civil Protection Commander Srečko Šestan said they had never had so many firefighters on the ground at night. Almost 1,300 people, including 1,000 firefighters, fought the fire during the day. When the fire began to threaten the houses, additional forces were called in. Šestan assessed that it was the biggest fire in Slovenia so far.

“At the moment, the situation is under control; there is no strong wind, which makes it easier to put out the fire because the fire does not spread. Of course, the situation can change quickly because a storm has been announced,” wrote Defense Minister Marjan Šarec this morning, adding that he is participating in firefighting with the Slovenian army.

“Since yesterday, the army has been helping with water supply and accommodation, the military ambulance service has been called, and they will also inspect with a thermal camera to detect hidden hotspots. They will also provide meals for the troops on the ground. If necessary, we will also send soldiers,” Šarec said. 

A lot of smoke in Istria
“A good part of western Istria is still in smoke; the situation has even worsened. A lot of reports are coming from Poreč,” writes Istramet.

After Canadairs, the Ministry of Defense sent a helicopter to the fire scene in Slovenia
During the day yesterday, the water cannon dumped 48 tons of water on the burned area in nine bursts.

Polluted air throughout Slovenia
The fire caused air pollution in the area of Koper, Postojna, and Nova Gorica.

Stronger winds are not expected
“We can look at wind as optimists or as pessimists,” says Brane Gregorčič from the Environmental Protection Agency. He said that there really wouldn’t be any stronger wind. He pointed out that the problems on Wednesday were caused by the western wind, which spread the fire from Italy towards Slovenia. “We expect similar winds today, but in between, there were about 18 hours of calm as far as the wind is concerned,” he said.

Smoke in Istria
A large amount of smoke from the fire raging in the Slovenian Kars region covered Istria with thick smoke, bringing a significant deterioration in air quality, reports Istramet.

The station for measuring air quality in Žužići near Tinjan at 5:15 am recorded a significant increase in floating particles. During most of the night, PM 2.5 particles were below 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, and after 5 hours, it increased more than three times and reached 40 μg/m3.

This morning, smoke in the form of haze is particularly visible in northern Istria, where there is a strong burning smell 

For more breaking news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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