Montenegro has asked for international help to fight wildfires raging along its Adriatic coastline, forcing the evacuation of dozens of tourists and campers, authorities said July 17.
“The situation at Lustica is critical. The interior ministry of Montenegro asked for the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism” to be activated to help extinguish the fire, the government said in a statement.
Mayors of the threatened coastal towns of Kotor, Tivat, and Herceg Novi urged the government to ask neighboring nations — Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia– to send fire-extinguishing aircraft.
At least 100 tourists were forced to evacuate from a coastal area that has been the hardest hit by the blaze.
Fueled by strong winds and dry weather, the fire on the Lustica peninsula in southern Montenegro has spread near homes and camping zones.
“Our forces are not enough to put out a fire of such proportion,” said Stevan Katic, the head of Herceg Novi municipality.
The navy also stepped in to help evacuate the area by sea, officials said.
Emergency services said strong winds are hampering firefighters’ efforts to save houses.
“The fire has spread over the road; an entire hill is burning,” emergency official Maksim Mandic told Montenegrin TV. “It is impossible to put out the fire completely in such winds.”