Split Photographer Stands Up to CNN About Reality of Wildfires in Dalmatia

Daniela Rogulj

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Damira Kalajzic

Split photographer Damira Kalajzic tells CNN the real story about the wildfires in Dalmatia.

The people of Split are just one of many reasons I adore this city so much. While they can be stubborn and difficult at times and clearly shouldn’t be spoken to before they’ve had their morning coffee, they are known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and better yet, open their hearts to many.

Such is the story we have seen this week surrounding the devastating fires across Dalmatia. The people of Split reacted with their hearts, rushing to the front line to battle the blaze in hopes of protecting the people and place they treasure. 

Once photos emerged of the destruction taking place before our eyes, it’s fair to say that most of us were hit with a bitter taste of reality. Many of us felt helpless, and many of us wondered where the help really was. 

Damira Kalajzic, a well-known nightlife photographer in Split, was one of the many to jump to the scene, finding her place on the front line to capture the blaze that burned before her. 

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Damira Kalajzic

Her photos, which were shared thousands of times across social media (nearly 18k times to be exact), even caught the attention of international publications the Washington Post and CNN, which is why we’re sharing her story today.

A member of CNN’s social discovery team reached out to Damira personally about using her photographs for their fire coverage of Dalmatia. 


Damira, who could have sent back a simple reply, instead made sure the reporter knew the extent of the situation in Dalmatia – speaking from her own heart and from the many who feel the same way. 

“Good morning Amanda!

Of course you can use my photos on your platforms, just credit me. Instead of paying me for the rights to use photos, please donate money to the people who lost their homes in this fire. 

Fire is now under control. Torcida Split (HNK Hajduk Split supporters’ group in Croatia) and local people from Split organised buses and went down to the wildfire areas so they can prevent huge damage. We have to thank them and the firemen. Our premier said that it was just a small, interesting fire, nothing else than that – and on the photos you can see that it was more than that. Our government did not react on time, but people did, as I mentioned, firemen, Torcida and the locals. So please mention this in your article. Our premier and our country has money for MIG planes, but they do not have money to buy more planes for wildfire – and now they are saying that it was nothing. Yes, now when it is safe, it looks like it was nothing, but in the moments when I took these photos, it looked like a horror movie. 

Now it is really safe, so please write also something nice about coastline, because we depend on tourism and it is not dangerous anymore like it looks like on my photos. 

With regards, 

— Damira”

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Damira’s response has been applauded on Facebook over 1k times, and the comments, which range from “bravo” to “well done” and “legend” will not stop there. 


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