Fire Update: After 30 Hours, Fire in Šibenik Area Under Control

Daniela Rogulj

Just after 1:30 pm on Saturday, a fire broke out in the Dubrava area near Šibenik which at one point had 200 firefighters on the ground, up to six Canadairs, and forced motorway closures in the area. The strong southern wind (jugo) made it difficult for firefighters to fight the blaze, which burned over one kilometer. 

It was the first time the Croatian Army’s ground forces have been engaged in this year’s firefighting season and was named the biggest fire in Croatia this year. 

Despite the efforts of the forces on the ground and in the air, on Sunday morning, the fire is not yet under control. According to Šibenikski.portal, the fire has spread to Bilice. Volimir Milošević, commander of JVP Šibenik, two canadairs and two air tractors arrived early Sunday morning.

“It came to the hamlet of Slavica in Bilice. At one point, it moved to Grubišić, but we managed to put it out. Apart from Mihaljević and Jurasi, part of the fire spread to the Krtolin hill to the windmills,” says Milošević.

The good news is that the heroism of the firefighters managed to prevent damage to the facilities, but the fire has spread in several directions.

“With regard to the condition of the fire two hours ago, it is better now, but it is still bad. The Canadairs will work on the edges, however, the surface is large and the jugo wind creates problems because it sporadically sparks a new fire in certain locations,” added the JVP Šibenik commander. 

The county firefighter commander Damir Dukić said that there was no classic evacuation, but that the police were with residents beside their homes while firefighters fought to save the buildings.

“The situation is much better than last night. It is a bit weaker,” Dukić continued. 

He too warned that the fire covered a large area and that it was hard to predict what would happen since it is burning through a thick pine forest.

“These are hills, they are tall pines, so we just have to be careful,” Dukić said. He added that the motorway was open for all traffic after the fire forced road closures between Pirovac and Vrpolje on Saturday.

About 230 people worked to fight the fire overnight, and the firefighting teams and Croatian Army were joined by their Zadar associates.

For the latest updates on Croatia’s roads, check the HAK website reported that four firefighters were injured in the blaze, according to Chief Fireman Slavko Tucaković, who described the situation as “quite difficult”.

“We had two injured firefighters yesterday – one had a knee injury and another inhaled smoke. They were transported to the hospital and they are well,” he said. Overnight, another two firefighters were injured. One suffered from a hand injury, and the other from inhaling smoke.

Tucaković confirmed that they all received help and are well. 

Two Canadairs and air tractors resumed work since the early hours of the morning, and overnight there were 50 members of the Croatian Army troop forces engaged who were sent pn Saturday from the barracks in Benkovac, which will replace 52 soldiers from the barracks Knin and Sinj. On Saturday, air forces with a total of seven planes continued for more than six hours to put out the fires in Šibenik-Knin county, totaling more than 30 hours and about 1200 tons of water, MORH said. 

Just before 9 am Sunday morning, rain fell in the Šibenik area, and around 9:18 am, Zagreb firefighters left to help fight the Šibenik blaze. 

9:27 am Sunday morning: ”We are hoping for an hour-long heavy rainfall that could extinguish this fire, otherwise we will have to stay on the ground. Anyway, people are on the ground no matter what until everything is completely out,” said the Commander of the Public Fire Brigade of Šibenik, Volimir Milošević. The air forces returned to their bases in Split and Zadar due to the weather.

Chief firefighter Slavko Tucaković said at 10 am on Sunday that the situation on the ground is now stable.

“We maybe already could have declared the fire localized, and now, in relation to what it was, everything is under control. With the tremendous efforts of firefighters, army, and citizens, with a great joint effort, we have come to the conclusion, and I would certainly commend the county firefighter Darko Dukić who coordinated this great action,” said commander Slavko Tucaković.

Tucaković visited the scene this morning with Interior Minister Davor Božinović, who also expressed his satisfaction with the work of all the agencies, as well as the local self-government units and the citizens who contributed in the fight. 

“Although the situation was already under control, the heavy rain that came this morning was just what we needed, so we stopped the help from the interior because there is no need for it. Now we are actually slowly releasing people and reorganizing the forces on the ground,” Tucaković explained.

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