Beware of Forest Fires

These are very hot days in Dalmatia, and sadly the threat of forest fires on Hvar is once again very real. 

Those of you following the news may have heard of the blazes raging on neighbouring destinations - Smokvica on Korčula and Trstenik on the Pelješac Peninsula. These have been joined by a new fire on Hvar's northern side, close to Bol on the island of Brač. 

With temperatures almost in the 40s and no sign of rain, the island's natural balance is under temporary threat, and we urge you to be both vigilant and careful in the coming days. One thoughtless tossing of a cigarette butt can cause a trail of destruction, and barbecue lovers should also take particular care - what started out as a fun barbecue by the sea in eastern Hvar a couple of years ago ended up with more than 40,000m2 of destroyed forest. 

The biggest forest fire in recent times was in 2003, when devastating fires came almost to the gates of Jelsa and touched buildings in the village of Selca on the old road above Stari Grad. 

The traditonal method of fighting fires on the island is a combination of ageing fire engine and the heroic pilots of the Canadairs, small aircraft which swoop down to the sea to scoop up water in their underbellies before dispersing the water on the raging fire. In a less dangerous environment, one could describe their flights as romantic. 

As lovers of Hvar, we ask everyone to be vigilant and sensible.

Here are five simple but important things to bear in mind, courtesy of -

#1 Always make sure that your cigarette is safely put out when you’re outdoors. Pick up a cigarette butt and take it with you.

#2 Never throw a lit cigarette from a moving car or as you walk along a road lined with shrubs.

#3 Never set up a barbecue in a place surrounded by trees. Respect the signs and guidelines set up in picnic areas.

#4 If you’re barbecuing, pick a spot removed from the trees. When you’re finished with the barbecue, always double check that the fire is completely out. Throw water on the ashes just to be 100% sure.

#5 If you cause fire or see fire staring somewhere, call the emergency number 112 to report it.

*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Aleksandar Topalovic Photography