Firefighters battle Košice Region wildfires

A fire broke out in the woods close to the municipality of Betliar, in Košice Region, at around 14:00 on Tuesday, August 6.

A fire broke out in the woods close to the municipality of Betliar, in Košice Region, at around 14:00 on Tuesday, August 6.

“Firefighters from Rožňava, Dobšiná [both Košice Region], Košice and Poprad (Prešov region) have been called into action, with specially trained firefighters using helicopters despatched due to the difficult terrain,” Firefighter and Rescue Corps Presidium spokesperson Silvia Jančovičová told the TASR newswire on the same day. “There are 40 professional and volunteer firefighters out there combating the fire.”

In light of the quickly spreading flames and the scope of the fire, a general crisis staff was convened to direct logistics and the deployment of forces and resources, and to make tactical decisions. Later in the evening, two military Mi-17 helicopters were brought in to help.

On Wednesday at noon, the fire was still not under control. “The damage will be big, I would say, but it is premature to calculate it,” head of the Rožňava branch of the state Slovak Forests / Lesy SR forester company Štefan Zubriczký told TASR. “Earlier, we thought the area impacted would be 8-10 hectares, but it seems rather to be 15 hectares – and the issue is where the fire will stop and could be contained as it still keeps advancing.”

Strong winds have helped spread the fire, which started in the Stádielko locality on a southern slope, dried out by persistent sun and heat. The flames came as close as 5 to 6 kilometres to Betliar but they have not threatened the village so far. The cause of the fire has not been determined; the area is frequently visited by tourists but forestry work might may also have been conducted there.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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