Fire on Zrće Beach Under Control, Over 10,000 People Evacuated

Lauren Simmonds

As Dnevnik writes on the 16th of July, 2019, at about 01:00, a fire broke out in a pine forest on the famous Zrće beach in Novalja on the island of Pag. Visitors were evacuated and the extinguishing of the fire was progress, the police reported this morning.

Due to the presence of the firefighting vehicles, traffic between Pag-Novalja above Zrće beach was halted for several hours, and traffic is now permitted along one lane, with police regulation.

“The fire was stopped at around 300 metres from a hospitality facility, what was most difficult to deal with was the wind direction, and we can’t be sure if evacuation is necessary in those cases. However, they decided to evacuate and that was the best choice. The clubs were not threatened.

A large number of people were in the woods so the police had a lot of work to do, and the co-ordination of the firefighters and police officers was excellent. People were fleeing because the fire had spread in all directions and nobody knew where to go,” Hrvoje Ostović of the Lika-Senj fire department added.

Željko Prša of the police said that the source and cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

“Whether the fire was purposeful or not will be seen after the fire is extinguished and we start looking for witnesses. When we know the conditions to see what has happened are secure, then we’ll see. It’s too early to talk about whether the fire was started purposely or not. There were thirty or forty policemen on the ground, and together with the firemen, they did the best job they could. Some of the people who were here got disoriented and went off into the woods, some of them were curious and wanted to see what it was all about – we’ve got all of them back to safety,” he said.

“All three Canadairs have been returned back to base, the fire is under the control of the firefighters and they’re putting it out, and all the tourists and the employees of the clubs that were in Zrće have been evacuated,” stated a statement from MUP.

Foreign media have reported on the fire on Pag, as there are many foreign tourists in Novalja, and the Fresh Island Festival was also being held.

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