Thursday, 23 August 2012

State of Emergency declared as wildfires rage through Bosnia-Herzegovina

Locals watch on as fires burn near the town of Konjic,
50 km south of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
(Source: AssociatedPress)
Authorities declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as wildfires continue to burn out of control across Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mayor of Bratunac Nedeljko Mladjenovic declared the emergency after the fires began to threaten his town from several directions. Calls for help have been made to the army as up to 50 locals assist fire-fighters in attempting to contain the fires.

Bratunac, located in Bosnia's north-east, is not the only town under impending threat. Further south, fire-fighters are battling blazes surrounding the town of Konjic.

One particular area near Konjic which is feeling the heat is Boracko Lake; a destination popular with tourists, and only located 50 km from the nation's capital, Sarajevo.

Tourists - mostly comprising of Bosnian diaspora - have begun evacuating their houses around the lake due to fear of the impending fire-front.

"This is really not pleasant at all," said Zorica Muskovic, a Bosnian holidaying from Munich. "I am scared, I want to leave as soon as possible."

Weather conditions are expected to provide little relief over the following days, with forecasts predicting temperatures to rise to the 40°C mark in some areas.


I must admit, these fires are reminding me, somewhat, of the catastrophic bushfires that raced across Victoria on 'Black Saturday' in 2009.
Although these fires should be contained, I am a tad worried about what could happen.
This morning, locals in threatened areas were phoning radio stations to express their disappointment in the lack of help from the public and, particularly, their government.
As a side note, a number of days ago, when I was returning from my trip to Trebinje, I could see first-hand just how extensive some of the fires were. In fact, our bus passed by a pretty large wild-fire, literally only a matter of metres away.
At the moment, we have our fingers crossed, and are, quite simply, hoping for the best.

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