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article imageWildfires rage on Adriatic coast

By AFP     Jul 18, 2017 in Travel

Firefighters in Montenegro and Croatia battled Tuesday to douse wildfires on the Adriatic coast and managed to control the blaze on the outskirts of Split, Croatia's second largest city.

About a dozen wildfires had raged since late Sunday in the villages surrounding Split, a popular tourist destination.

Lete Monday the fire spread to the suburbs of Split where a shopping centre had to be evacuated and several cars were burned.

The city waste dump caught fire, while the town was covered with thick black smoke, but the blaze was put under control overnight.

"It seems that the worst is behind us ... Split has been saved," mayor Andro Krstulovic Opara told HRT state-run television.

Local media reports however said some parts of Split were without electricity or water on Tuesday.

According to initial estimates some 4,500 hectares (11,120 acres) of land, mostly pine forests, bushes and olive groves, were burned. Houses were burned but there were no casualties.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic arrived Tuesday in Split, some 400 kilometres (248 miles) south of Zagreb, for a meeting to take stock of the situation.

In neighbouring Montenegro, where the forest fires forced the evacuation of more than a hundred campers on the Lustica peninsula, the situation was slightly better Tuesday.

The intensity of the blaze was lower as strong winds calmed, officials said.

"We are doing everything we can to put the blaze under control," Zoran Barbic, the head of the local rescue services said.

Fires however were still active in several municipalities further inland but were all under control, an interior ministry statement said.

The cause of the fires in both Croatia and Montenegro is still not known.

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