ZAGREB, July 16, 2011 (From AFP) - Firefighters were battling Saturday to put out a major forest fire that has been raging on the Croatian holiday island of Brac for the past three days, officials said. The fire, that broke out on Thursday in a bay on the island's southwestern side, has ravaged some 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres) of pine forest, olive trees and other plants, national rescue services said. Dozens of sheep also died in the blaze, local media reported. The fire caused power failures on Friday when some 230 people, mostly tourists, were evacuated from parts of the southern island at their own request. Thick smoke from the blaze also spread to the nearby port of Split. Some 300 rescuers, whose efforts were made more difficult by strong winds spreading the blaze, were also using fire-fighting planes and helicopters. Local media reported that a barbeque by tourists on the island is suspected to have sparked the forest fire -- the largest on Brac in years. Croatia has gone bent under a heat wave since early July with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The island of Brac is one of the most popular holiday destinations on Croatia's Adriatic coast.
Envisat view of forest fire
Forest fire on the Croatian island, Brac.
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