Raging wildfire on Italian-Slovenian border claims first victim

NEWS 22.07.2022 08:11
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Source: Crt Piksi/via REUTERS

Wildfire raging in the Kras region on the Italian-Slovenian border claimed its first victim on Thursday when a 56-year-old Italian woman volunteer who joined the civil service to patrol the affected area was crushed by a burned tree trunk.

According to Italian media reports, the victim, Elena Lo Duca, was part of a team for on-site inspections sent to asses the scope of the wildfire damage.

The wildfire, which broke out in Slovenia’s Kras region right on the country’s western border with northern Italy, has been raging for five days now. Estimates say that some 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of land have been affected, with several villages in the area evacuated.

Head of the Slovenian Civil Protection, Srecko Sestan, told the state news agency STA on Thursday that this is the largest wildfire that hit the country in 30 years, and added that “the fire is nowhere near its end.”

In some areas the fire also reportedly set off unexploded ordnance left over from World War I, as the area had been fought over in fierce battles between Italian and Austrian armies more more than a century ago.

Hundreds of Slovenian firefighters have been battling the blaze over the past week, while Italy, Croatia, Austria, and Slovakia have sent firefighting water bomber aircraft to assist with the effort.