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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Dubrovnik fire threat subsiding
Blaze on edge of Dubrovnik, 6 Aug 07
The fire threatened homes on hills overlooking Dubrovnik
Firefighters in Croatia have brought a major forest fire under control on the outskirts of Dubrovnik, an old city dubbed "the Pearl of the Adriatic".

Three Canadair water-bombing planes were dousing the flames on Monday, helping hundreds of firefighters to contain the blaze threatening the city.

At one point the fire stretched for 20km (12 miles). The authorities have imposed a state of emergency.

Dubrovnik is a Unesco world heritage site and major tourist attraction.

Reports say the winds that had been fanning the blaze eased overnight.

The mayor has said emergency services are ready to evacuate residents from the hillside districts above the city centre.

Croatia map

The old city centre has undergone a major restoration since it was damaged in the 1990s Balkan conflict.

Hot weather across southern Europe has led to some of the worst forest fires on record, European officials say.

"We have set up a civil security headquarters and we're ready for evacuation of inhabitants from the districts that are in danger," said Dubrovnik Mayor Dubravka Suica.

She urged women, children and elderly people in the affected hillside districts to go to a shelter that has been set up.

Soaring temperatures

The fire has been burning for several days, spreading from neighbouring Bosnia-Hercegovina.

View of Dubrovnik
Many of Dubrovnik's finest buildings date back to the 17th Century
Unexploded landmines left over from the Croatian war in the 1990s have been hampering the efforts of firefighters.

Ms Suica said tourists were the least at risk because the seaside districts where they stayed were not threatened by the fire.

More than 3,000 sq km (1,200 sq miles) of forest in southern Europe has already burned this year, almost as much as in the whole of 2006, the European Commission said on Thursday.

Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have all been affected, as well as countries like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Turkey.

Spain and Portugal are also at risk in the days ahead as temperatures soar there as well.

Planes tackle the flames from the air

Dubrovnik fires: Your experiences
06 Aug 07 |  Have Your Say
Europe bakes in summer heatwave
25 Jul 07 |  Europe

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