Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Croatian firefighters gain upper hand over Dubrovnik fires

AFP , ZAGREB

Firefighters on Monday managed to contain a blaze that threatened the medieval Croatian town of Dubrovnik -- a UNESCO heritage site -- where authorities had declared a state of emergency on Sunday.

Despite winds fanning flames at a few spots in the Dubrovnik area, the forest and scrub fires were now believed to be under control, firefighters said.

Three Canadair water bombers on Monday helped 250 firefighters and hundreds of residents to save the town.

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader visited the ravaged area and said that Zagreb would urge Bosnia, from where the fires have spread to the Dubrovnik area, to step up its firefighting efforts.

"We are going to demand a report on Bosnia's capability to organize an effective protection against fires, and depending on it we'll consider further steps," Sanader told journalists.

Late on Monday firefighters said two more fires were approaching the area from Bosnia.

"In some areas we fought the blaze house-to-house. The damage could have been worse, but we were able to stop the fire injuring more people," deputy fire chief Tomislav Vuko said.

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