Wildfires threaten villages across the Balkans

Officials say high summer temperatures behind hundreds of fires devastating forests and threatening villages in region.

Croatian plane fights forest fires
More than 30 fire stations across the Balkans have been attempting to contain the fires [Croatian Ministry of Defence]

Authorities in three Balkan countries are struggling to contain a series of fires that have devastated wild life and are threatening homes in the peninsula.

Balkans hit by worst drought in decades

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, officials in Croatia said they still did not have a full understanding of how much damage the fires had done.

“We are doing everything we can to stop the fires in Peljesac and Korcula…we’re still not sure of the size of the areas covered,” said Stjepan Simovic, the fire commander in southern Croatian city of Peljesac.

Areas of the Croation capital, Zagreb, have been damaged by the fires, which are ongoing in three separate cantons.

Bosnian official, Majda Kovac from the Civil Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told Al Jazeera that several villages in that country were also under threat.

“We have found several smaller wildfire sites in the Bosansko Grahovo munincipality, where the villages of Donje Peulje and Marinkovci [in the country’s west] are under the biggest threat,” Kovac said.

Meteorogical contrast

Officials in Bosansko Grahovo have already asked the armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina for help, and are considering requesting international help.

More than 570 fires have also been reported in the neighbouring Serbia.

Over 30 fire stations across the three countries have been involved in fighting the blazes.

Kovac said unusually high temperatures were responsible for the extent and ferocity of the fires.

“We are speaking of a complete meteorological contrast. Last year we were hit by floods, and this year we are dealing with high temperature and wildfires. Both of them have caused damage to an enormous extent,” she said.

Source: Al Jazeera