A new heat wave about to affect this region brings with it the danger of not only more fires in Croatia and Montenegro, but also of them breaking out in Serbia.
Sputnik is reporting that the message from the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center (RSHC) in Nis, southern Serbia is that there is “no reason to panic” – considering that in case of wildfires in Serbia’s territory, “all available capacities will be used to put them out.”
“Russia has already sent 18 modern firetrucks, that can be used at any moment. Next, the Center has tents, pumps and compressors, that are also at the disposal if needed. In case of large-scale fires, aviation can be used as well, Ilyushin-76, Beriev-200 aircraft and Kamov-32 helicopters, that are located in the territory of Russia. For its part, Serbia would provide the necessary manpower in order to deal with the crisis,” the Center’s Russian Director Vyacheslav Vlasenko told the agency.
Vlasenko recalled the successful cooperation between the RSHC and the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) not only during 2012, when wildfires broke out in Serbia, but also during the 2014 floods, when Russia sent airplanes and rescuers who helped during the disaster.
“After all, the Center in Serbia was set up in order to help and cooperate with the Serbian side. Every day we receive information from Russia, specifically from the Center for Crisis Situations, about thermal points that indicate increases in temperature in Serbia. All that is then forwarded to the MUP, to the Sector for Emergency Situations. These are the preventive measures undertaken every day in order to avoid catastrophes,” Vlasenko stressed.
Petar Vojinovic, editor of the Serbian aviation website Tango Six, told Sputnik that wildfires that affected Serbia a few years ago showed that the country had modest capacities to fight them from the air.
“They consist of joint police and military forces, i.e., the MUP’s Helicopter Unit and the Serbian Air Force – and these are in fact regular transport helicopters that have installations allowing them to carry water. That is one way to put out a fire, but it is inadequate in case of major fires affecting large areas. For that reason, aircraft with bigger capacity are needed, something we saw a few years ago when help arrived from Russia in the shape of Ilyushin-76 airplanes and Kamov helicopters, which came with that purpose and were deployed by the RSHC,” Vojinovic said.