EDJNet investigates on fires in Croatia (part II)

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Croatian firefighters are preparing for the challenges posed by climate change, particularly extreme wildfires. The journalist Chiara Marchesini already explored the causes of Croatia’s susceptibility to extreme fires here. As part of the Wildfires in Europe investigation, the analysis continues with an interview with Joško Grančić, assistant chief of the Croatian Association of Firefighters (HVZ) for the Croatian coast.

The World Meteorological Organization recorded the hottest week ever in July, highlighting the urgency of addressing climate-related issues. The Croatian Association of Firefighters (HVZ) is concerned about large fires in open spaces caused by weather conditions, leading to extreme wildfires. The interview with Joško Grančić, assistant chief of the association, addressed its future endeavours including building 600 km of firefighting roads along the coast, installing surveillance cameras, and implementing preventive measures.

In addition to wildfires, it was stressed in the interview that firefighters also deal with other climate-related disasters such as droughts, which require transporting drinking water, and heavy rainfall causing flooding. The HVZ, with a long tradition of volunteer firefighting, has 124,927 members, including 31,621 volunteers and 3,041 professionals. Volunteers play a crucial role not only in firefighting but also in community engagement, organizing various events.

A Canadair of the Croatian firefighters (foto © HVZ)

While discussing the impact of Croatia’s EU accession on the association’s activity, Grančić stressed that EU funds have facilitated the purchase of firefighting equipment and the construction of fire stations. The EU Civil Protection mechanism, known as rescEU, allowed for the sharing of resources among European countries during crises, with a focus on forest fires. Croatia participates in this mechanism, contributing aircraft and ground forces.

In summary, Croatian firefighters are adapting to climate change challenges, implementing preventive measures, and collaborating with EU counterparts to address wildfires and other climate-related disasters. We invite you to read the full interview by Chiara Marchesini  published on OBC Transeuropa, and discover more about the Wildfires in Europe investigation.

Author: Beatrice Bellavia (Euromontana).