The extensive fire that has been raging for over a week in the region of Kras to the south of Gorica is now finally under control. Firefighters, members of the Slovenian Armed Forces, foresters, civil protection and rescue service providers and volunteers have been relentlessly fighting the flames for ten days. From the very start of the fire, the police have taken part in the emergency response efforts to help manage the extremely difficult situation on the ground.

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BoŇ°tjan Lindav and Tatjana Bobnar at the site on Friday, 22 July, where they were briefed on the activities that also involved police officers whom they thanked for their dedication in carrying out their duties to protect people‚Äôs lives and property in such difficult circumstances. They were also briefed on the work of the Civil Protection Operational Headquarters.

All available police helicopters fully involved in combatting fire and observing post-fire sites; even police water cannon joins the action

Both police helicopters have been active in taming the flames. The Augusta Westland AW 169 helicopter dropped a total of 600 loads of water (approx. 470,000 litres) in the effort to stop the fire from spreading further while the second helicopter used the thermal imaging camera to locate potential new hotspots and to observe the fire area.

LPE Pomoc pri gasenju video izrez1

The police helicopter, which can fill its bucket with up to 900 litres of water at a time, has performed well above average daily flying time in the effort to extinguish this extensive fire. In the meantime, the police have to remain available to provide emergency alpine rescue as well. Play the video (in Slovenian only)

Vodni top gasenje pozara na Krasu video izrez

In addition to the Air Support Unit, which assisted from above, the police provided their water cannon truck operated by the Special Unit in order to deliver large quantities of water and put out the flames wherever possible. In such a serious situation, every possible device that can suppress fire is welcome. Play the video

Nova Gorica Police Directorate did the lion's share of operational work while supported by the General Police Directorate and other regional directorates

Since 15 July 2022, when the first fire was detected near Miren, there have been 20 to 35 police officers and crime investigators working daily in the affected area. The highest number of officers was on the fire site on Wednesday, 20th July, and Friday, 22 July, when the situation was by far the most critical and large-scale evacuations were taking place in the Gorica part of the Kras region and the Vipava Valley.

Police officers and crime investigators of the Nova Gorica Police Directorate (NG PD) have performed their duties at the Operational Headquarters located in the administrative building of NG PD and at the Operational Headquarters at Kostanjevica in Kras. Their primary job has been to coordinate their operational duties with the work of the civil protection forces and of police patrols on the ground.

Police ensured smooth passage of emergency vehicles, escort of extraordinary transport, information for the public, assistance in evacuation and protection of residents’ property

Nova Gorica's police officers, who were assisted by criminal investigators from the Ljubljana, Koper and Kranj Police Directorates, officers from the Specialised Unit for Traffic Control and the Specialised Unit for State Border Control of the General Police Directorate, controlled the fire-affected area and access routes, set up road closures and diverted road traffic to enable uninterrupted traffic of emergency vehicles operated by the civil protection services, the army and the police. The police also monitored access to the technical support centre for aircraft. Police patrols of the Motorway Police Directorate have provided escort to several emergency transports of special forestry freight vehicles.

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On 23 July, officers of the Kranj Police Directorate assisted the escort of the extraordinary transport between Spodnja Lipica and Temnice in Kras to deliver heavy forestry machinery, which is essential in preventing the spread of fire. Play the video (in Slovenian only)

When people were ordered to evacuate, police officers, with the help of representatives of local communities and the mayor of the Miren‚ÄďKostanjevica Municipality, informed the residents and carried out evacuations of a number of villages in the affected part of the Kras region, as well as parts of Miren, Renńće and GradiŇ°ńće pri Prvańćini in the Vipava Valley. Several evacuations of domestic animals were also organised by the competent services. The police provided protection of property in the evacuated villages by deploying criminal police officers. A criminal investigation into the circumstances of the fire has also been launched.

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Some officers did not hesitate to grab the fire-fighting equipment and help put out the fire (a police officer extinguishing the fire to save a holiday home).

A big thanks to everyone who has helped

A number of officers who are also volunteer firefighters responded to the call for help from the affected area, showing their solidarity with firefighters some of whom had already been very exhausted. The police administration supported the fire-fighting police officers by aligning their work schedules and helped in other ways to enable them to join the effort.

Risk of wildfire in Slovenia on high or very high alert

Until further notice, the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief declared a very high level of wildfire risk in some areas in Slovenia while the rest of the land is placed under a high level of wildfire risk.

In addition to the prohibition of land clearing burns and of discarding burning items or other items or substances that may ignite a fire, these alerts also entail the prohibition of setting up fires, setting fires for the purpose of clearing ground alongside infrastructure, setting up bonfires, and the prohibition of outdoor use of items, devices or carrying out of activities that may cause fire, as well as the prohibition of setting up the fireworks. Together with the inspectors for the protection against natural and other disasters, police officers are carrying out enhanced monitoring of compliance with the fire danger alert.