Montenegro sent on Saturday three aeroplanes to neighbouring Bosnia to help fight wildfires that have engulfed several areas of the country, often spreading over inaccessible terrain and threatening several villages.
The air tractors – agricultural aircraft that may also be adapted into fire-fighting – were deployed in the area of Konjic, some 40 kilometres southwest of Sarajevo, where the flames had reached minefields left from Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, making it impossible for firefighters to approach it.
The planes joined an army helicopter that was preventing the blaze from spreading toward the southern city of Mostar.
The flames headed north toward Konjic and threatened homes in two villages but firefighters and civil protection units, as well as volunteers, had fought them off, putting the wildfire under control and allowing the air tractors to be deployed to the next critical area, near the town of Prozor, 60 kilometres southwest of Sarajevo.
Authorities believe the fires were caused by people burning vegetation to clean their agricultural fields.
Heavy winds have made it difficult to keep the flames under control.
Fahrudin Solak, the head of the Federation’s Civil Protection, called on the population to be careful or simply not to set any fire at all.
”Human error, carelessness is to be blamed for this. People and properties are jeopardized,” he said.
Solak said that more wildfires are active near Prozor, Capljina and Bugojno.
Near the town of Prusac the fire is still raging and threatening to engulf homes in several villages.
“The situation is still serious and we are giving our best to put the fire under control,” said Mensur Duzic, the head of the firefighters in Donji Vakuf.
This fire is difficult to handle as well since winds are spreading it over minefields.