Fire Suddenly Breaks Out at Spas and Maine Hills in Budva

Fire Suddenly Breaks Out at Spas and Maine Hills in Budva

 22 August 2008

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Montenegro — Dramatic Struggle With Fires on the Coast, Firemen Rescue Houses in Budva, Suspicion that Fires Were Started Deliberately: thick, black smoke has covered the sky above the metropolis of tourism – this is the what Budva was like yesterday. Firefighters are struggling to put under control other fires raging accross Montenegro in Danilovgrad, National park “Lovcen”, on Mount Mirac above Kotor… Weather forecast announces long-awaited rain on Sunday.

Budva – Thick, black smoke has covered the sky above the metropolis of tourism; sirens of fire-brigade vehicles, police which has fully blocked all roads in order to facilitate passage for water-supply vehicles; columns of cars and citizens who were watching as the fire raged and progressed towards the city – this is the what Budva was like yesterday. It looked like a town facing a cataclysm.

Fire broke out at around 3:30 pm yesterday, at Spas hill, above Budva, practically “swallowing” dozens of hectares of bush and pine-tree-forest. At one point, several houses in Komasevina settlement were also endangered.

At the moment when this article is written, fire went all the way down to Mogren beach, where it caught hundreds of years’ old trees, even reaching Jaz beach.

In the first evening hours, due to the intervention of fire brigade and locals, fire has been localized in the direction of settlements, but it continued to rage on the sides of the hill. Firemen and locals were unable to save one abandoned wooden house and one small warehouse at Komosevina.

Huge problems for Budva’s firefighters – whose colleagues from Podgorica, Cetinje, Kotor and Tivat had come to assist them – was another fire, which suddenly broke out at Ostrog hill, in the part of town immediately opposite to the first one at Spas hill.

As the unit of Budva’s firefighters, assisted by private citizens who were bringing water with their trucks, approached the fire at Spas, thick smoke appeared above Maine district.

In the meantime, this unit was split to two, while helicopters and airplanes for special situations kept dropping water on the endangered areas for hours that followed.

Action has been coordinated by Mayor, Rajko Kuljaca, who had been on the field all the time, accompanied by deputy Minister of Interior for emergency situations, Zoran Bogovic.

Rumors that the fire has destroyed several houses at Spas hill, which have been conveyed by domestic and Serb media, who also claimed that “tourists were trying to escape raging fires”, had been denied by Budva’s Mayor, Rajko Kuljaca.

“Everything is under control, not a single house has burnt down and human lives are being protected. Spas hill, in the direction of Mogren beach, did burn down. Bush is on fire on Ostrog hill”, Kuljaca told “Vijesti” last night.

Kuljaca expressed his doubt that these fires were deliberately planted, as it was rather strange that two fires would break out, at the same time, in two opposite parts of town.

“Firefighting units, members of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MUP) and, partly, citizens of Budva, have all responded to our call at the same moment and have, jointly, succeeded in cutting off fires. Houses are safe, for the time being. The only positive thing is the fact that the wind is blowing from the opposite direction, so that the fire is under control.

One “dromader” aircraft has arrived, as well as a Russian helicopter which can take much larger capacity of water and provide much better results.

Let’s hope we shall be able to put all this under control, if not to put the fire out completely. If there is a material damage, Municipality is here to fix it, together with its’ citizens.

We do not know how these fires broke out, but we do hope that people and institutions who are in charge of those issues would investigate what had happened.

What we need is for all the citizens and investors to understand that in these months, no one should clean the terrain without the assistance of the Service for Protection and Rescue or other authorized personal”, Kuljaca warned last night.

Chief of Budva’s Service for Protection and Rescue, Zdravko Sljukic told “Vijesti” late last night that the fire on Spas hill, which might move in the direction of densely populated Budva’s areas, has been localized, but that the fire raged in the hardly accessible areas above.

“We have concentrated all our efforts to the settlements Seoca and Prijevor, so that the fire would not reach the houses. In this action, several firefighters were slightly injured”, Sljukic stated.

Although fire at Ostrog hill had been localized, fire continued burning well into the night and swallowing bushes and forest, catching a wide area of around one kilometer radius.

In order to facilitate arrival of firefighters to the fire-affected sites, police re-directed traffic across Toplis hill, as Jadranska magistrala remained blocked at Zuta greda for almost five hours.

Serbia and Italy are Sending Planes

Government stated last night that Serbian PM, Mirko Cvetkovic pledged, during his last night’s telephone conversation with PM¸Milo Djukanovic, the assistance of specialized aircrafts from JAT’s fleet, which could assist the fight against raging flames.

“Djukanovic accepted the offer of Serbian PM, thanking for the expressed solidarity. JAT’s airplanes will join firefighters from numerous Montenegrin towns already in the early morning hours, in their joint efforts to put out the fire.

Italian government also offered assistance to Montenegrin government in putting fire above Budva under control. Italian “kanader” plane will join the struggle against raging fire early in the morning, which is endangering the metropolis of Montenegrin tourism”, statement reads.

Fires at Lustica, in Danilovgrad…

Yesterday night, fire burned at Lustica, in Herceg Novi’s part of this peninsula.

In words of Damjan Loncar, commander of Fire-brigade, forest fire broke out in the village of Gornji Klinci, above the old army barrack.

As it took an hour and a half for Herceg Novi’s firefighters to arrive to the scene, voluntary fire-brigade “Krtoli” from Radovici has also been called to assistance.

Volunteers arrived to the scene with three trucks. In words of Loncar, some 15 men from this company engaged in the fire-fighting. Huge flames were visible from Herceg Novi at around 6 pm, but disappeared after 7 pm.

In words of commander of voluntary firefighting brigade “Krtoli”, Zoran Barbic estimated 3,000 square meters covered with bushes and short plants got caught with fire. Since this fire raged under the electricity lines, it is possible that some spark from it might have caused this fire.

Security Service in Danilovgrad had lot to do during the last week, as many fires broke out in the vicinity of this town. At certain localities, fire had caught large portions of land and firefighters had a lot to do. They are still active in Gornji Zagarac and Bandici, at the locality of Bijele Rudine.

Fire at Gornji Zagarac is active for several days now and it has also spread to the area of Bajramovica and Velestovo.

Houses of Kekovic and Djurisic family in the villages of Ruista and Miogost are under threat. Fire is spreading in the direction of Besin Ubl.

In words of the Chief of Protection and Rescue Service, Goran Radulovic this terrain is hardly accessible and putting the fire out fire is possible only at certain locations and, that, only in situations when fire would reach houses and other objects.

It is also hard to access terrain in Bandici, where five hectares of low forest and bushes has been burning. Houses of families Begovic, Vukovic, Pavićevic, Radonjic, as well as the village-cemetery have been in jeopardy. This fire is now under control and the fighting also included two vehicles, six rescuers and around 10 locals.

Besides, members of the Protection Team have also intervened in Dobro Polje, Vis, Martinici, Kosovo Lug, Lalevici, Glavica, Bralenovici, Grabe, Daljma, Komunica.

“For the sixth consecutive day, all employees, and especially Protection Service have been engaged at the attempts to put out fire which has caught parts of Lovcen National Park.

Seven wardens in this park, alongside its’ director, Vaso Uskokovic, have been fighting flames on the field, regardless of the fact that they are well aware that fire on the slopes of Lovcen can be put out only from the air, with planes and helicopters, and that it is impossible that they will put out such a huge fire with their 15-kilogram backpacks”, public enterprise of Montenegrin National Parks has stated.

Statement adds that there is no official information about the case of this fire, but it concludes that there are grounds for suspicion that this fire has been planted.

Colder Weather as of Sunday

Weather Forecasting Institute of Montenegro announces stable and warm weather for today and tomorrow, with the temperatures ranging from 24 to 39 degrees, which is expected to be measured in Podgorica.

On Sunday, forecasters expect partially cloudy weather with local rain showers and thunders. Following two days will see a temperature drop by some five degrees.

Maximum temperature on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be around 35 degrees.

In continental areas, Institute expects clouds, with local rain showers and thunders. Podgorica would be mostly sunny, with possibility of some clouds.

As of Thursday next week, Montenegro world face yet another mild increase of the air temperature, with maximum daily temperature reaching 37 degrees.

Weather-forecasters say it is not possible to predict what the weather would be like till the end of the summer and how many more hot days one might expect.

Weather forecaster, Branko Micev says that comparisons with last years had no significance, as such comparisons can be done only in relation to the climatic normality, which is measured over a thirty year period.

First half of August in Podgorica has been five degrees warmer that the average temperature. During the last 60 years, only nine summers resembled this one, while remaining 51 years had much lower temperatures.

Nothing Can Be Done Without Planes

Director of the National Forestry Directorate, Rados Sucur has visited crisis regions yesterday.

“Fires are, at the moment, not endangering state-owned forests, only the private ones. Regardless of that, we have intervened in the areas where it has been most urgent.

All praises go to these brave men. However, it became evident this time that technical assets, first and foremost, airplanes and helicopters, are something that Montenegro must have at its’ disposal in the future, due to the configuration of its’ relief”, Sucur stated.

Directorate has provided local fire brigades in Niksic, Cetinje and Kotor with Euro 5,000 donation for fuel.

Kotorans are Guarding Nearby Villages

Kotor’s firemen have defended houses in the village of Pipoljevac in the vicinity of Mount Mirac, as the fire raged down southern slopes of Lovcen in that direction.

“A large part of thick, pine-tree forest is on fire, but there is nothing we can do there, as this area cannot be accessed by humans.

Helicopter which put out fire in Budva, and which was supposed to provide us assistance in our efforts, had crash-landing at Tivat airport due to malfunction, so that nothing can be done there either.

Together with the local villagers, we are protecting houses, which is our priority. And, for the time being, there is no danger for this village”, commander of Fire Brigade Unit-Kotor, Eduard Kovicic told “Vijesti” last night around 9 pm.

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