Croatia — A state of emergency has been declared in Croatia, after a forest fire reached the suburbs of the medieval coastal city of Dubrovnik. The walled city is a major tourist attraction, and is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. This report from Nicholas Walton:
The city of Dubrovnik is one of the most recognisable tourist attractions on the coasts of Europe, with its gigantic angular stone fortifications jutting out into the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Inside the city walls it is a mass of tiled roofs, stone towers and mazy streets.
Now the area of coastline where it is situated is threatened by a major forest fire. The fire has been spread from inland Bosnia and Hercegovina by strong winds, and it has now reached the suburbs of Dubrovnik. So far the main tourist areas, inside the walled city itself, are not at risk, but the homes of Croat residents, lining the streets and hills overlooking Dubrovnik, are.
The city’s mayor says emergency services are ready to evacuate residents if fire-fighting planes and around three hundred firefighters on the ground don’t manage to stop the blaze from spreading. But after several months of very high temperatures the earth and undergrowth is extremely dry, and prone to catch fire.