“It is very difficult to look at the large areas that have perished in the fire and in which a lot of effort has been invested,” Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said as she toured the burned areas in the hinterland between the Dalmatian towns of Šibenik and Vodice.
Accompanied by local officials, the minister first visited the family farm of Ivan Cvitana, where 400 olive trees burned in a forest fire.
“The damage will be compensated,” she said. “For example, someone who burned 300 olive trees will receive the same number of new plants. From the rural development program he can obtain funds to establish new plantations as well as compensation for loss of income.
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The fire ravaged more than 330 hectares, including 137 farms and 413 plots registered in Arkod – the land registration system in Croatia.
According to initial estimates, around 95 hectares of agricultural land were burned, mainly olive groves, vineyards and plantations of fig and almond trees. Damage to several bee colonies was also reported.
The damage is still adding up, and when it is final the procedure for declaring a natural disaster begins, which usually takes about two months. A natural disaster is declared by the local community, in this case Šibenik-Knin County. “Once that is done, everything will continue,” Vučković said.
Rural Development Program funds, which are allocated after natural disasters, will be made available to fire-affected farmers who apply for the tender.
Ministry advisers visited affected farms immediately after the fire and will continue to be on the ground and available to farmers throughout the process.
Although these procedures have been simplified in recent years, each farmer can ask his own adviser to complete the necessary documentation, Vučković said.
She also confirmed that the government, in cooperation with Šibenik-Knin County, will consider the possibility of additional aid to farmers to compensate part of the lost income, in order to restore agricultural production as soon as possible.
According Data According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), 135 forest fires have burned 30,889 hectares in Croatia since the beginning of the year.
Many fires are burning in Istria and Dalmatia, the two most important olive-growing regions of the country.
Between 2008 and 2021, forest fires burned an average of 13,600 hectares each year in Croatia. Peak forest fire season begins in late July and early August.