Saturday, September 01, 2007

Serbian Widlfires: Albanian Extortion and Arson? Got to Make you Wonder about Fires in Greece!

From B92

An official says a threat came a month ago that the Kosovo administrative boundary area would be set on fire.

While the blazes continue in the area along the administrative line separating Serbia proper and Kosovo, the state forestry management enterprise, Srbijašume, says all the fires that broke out in the region in the past couple of days were the work of arsonists.

Fires have often broken out simultaneously in several locations at night time, when firefighters often could not reach the locations for safety concerns.

Forestry directorate chief with Srbijašume, Branislav Prolović, told reporters Friday that his company received information from Kosovo a month ago that the entire area along the separation line between municipalities of Kuršumlija and Podujevo would be torched.

"One of the key officials in Kosovo threatened that everything from Ugljarski Krš to Prepolac, on the administrative line between Podujevo and Kuršumlija, would burn, and so it has."

"So far the fire has spread to some ten kilometers along the line, five more to go to Ugljarski Krš. These are the 15 kilometers that have always been volatile."

"The structure that burnt down recently belonged to a woman who was robbed and murdered there after the war. Now the house has been torched as well," Prolović says.

The firefighters in the region remain on high alert.

Last night, firefighting teams gathered to help extinguish fires in the villages of Mehana, Zebica and Kupinovo near Prolom , which had broken out at about 6 p.m. This fire was not localized, according to representatives from the Srbijašume company.

There are still no details as to whether the fire on the administrative boundary with Kosovo in the village of Tačevac has spread to the Kuršumlija municipality, but it was not put out last night for safety reasons.

Fire around Tara localized

Firefighters have succeeded in localizing a fire which broke out four days ago in Tara national park. Owing to sporadic high winds, the situation is being closely monitored to make sure the situation does not get out of control again.

Chief of the Užice Fire Brigade Saša Cicvarić says that over a hundred firemen, police officers and national park workers have been brought in to help fight the blaze.

Cicvarić said that, "We were trying to localize that fire until 6am, doing everything that was humanly possible. At the same time, we called for assistance. Help arrived from all sides – from Šabac, Valjevo, Kragujevac, Prijepolje, Čačak."

Because of the inaccessible terrain where the fire had broken out, they even had to use excavators to reach a section of the road, for the water cisterns to be able get as close to the blaze as possible.

One of the firemen, Blagoje Radišić, said that their efforts to extinguish the fire had been complicated by high winds and steep terrain.

Radišić reported that two firemen had received minor injuries during the operation."The people at the bottom and underneath have to keep an eye out for falling stones."

"Basically, the roots of a tree burn out, then some land gives way. You’ve seen how rocky it is, and the stones come crashing down in what’s virtually an avalanche.

It is estimated that about 60 hectares of pine forest has been destroyed, including some trees over 300 years old.

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