Heat and Drought Spark Balkan Wildfires

August 26, 2012; 5:50 AM ET
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August heat and Drought in southeast Europe resulted in this wildfire on the Greek island of Chios, seen on Aug. 19, 2012. New fires have kindled on the Balkan Peninsula as of Saturday, Aug. 25 (AP Photo/Icon Press).

Intense heat and stubborn summer drought has withered crops and sparked wildfires in the western Balkan region, hitting Serbia and Bosnia especially hard.

Several thousand villagers in southwestern Serbia were ordered to leave their homes on Saturday, Reuters said.

Serbian villages of Miokovci and Gornja Gorevnica were "endangered", the head of the Emergencies Department said.

Saturday, a Russian firefighting aircraft arrived to bolster the effort.

Temperatures Saturday soared to 100 degrees for a third-straight day across, not only the former Yugoslavia, but right across the Balkan Peninsula to Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.

Highest temperatures in Serbia reached at least 106 degrees at Loznica. Meteorological data available to AccuWeather.com showed Belgrade hit 104 degrees.

The withering heat capped off what has thus far been an abnormally hot summer for much of Europe.

An early August heat wave yielded all-time highest temperatures in some Balkan localities, according to an online tracker of world temperature extremes.

Furthermore, the impact of the heat has been heightened by drought. Belgrade, for example, has had less than 20 percent of its normal rainfall since June 1.

While no widespread wetting rain is in the forecast, the heat will break across nearly all of the Balkan region after Sunday.


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