Finally we had a thunderstorm last night. We were eagerly waiting for the rain after weeks of sweltering temperatures in the high 30s. I felt like I was back in India! Except that in India we were used to have ceiling fans to keep cool. So to cope with the heat we bought a portable pedestal fan which ran constantly day and night. We then decided it would be good to have a second fan, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, and headed back to the same shop in Pazin where we had bought the first one. But they were already sold out! So were all the other shops.
On Thursday there were hints of a storm approaching, announced by the rumbling sound of thunder coming from a distance. Again, I felt like I was back in India waiting for the first anticipated drops of the monsoon rains to arrive and bring relief from the heat. A few big drops fell, but not enough to completely soak the ground. Then a few hours later, the distinct smell of something burning was in the air. We quickly found out that there were forest fires burning nearby in Kršan and Plomin, where the lightning from the aborted storm had set trees on fire. This was devastating news because there were already fires burning in other parts of Croatia which had decimated hectares and hectares of forests and agricultural land, and just the week before there had been other fires in Istria.
From the village, the view east towards Kršan and Plomin was very hazy because of the smoke in the air and the wind even carried ashes from the fires all the way to our courtyard. By nightfall the fires were still burning in Plomin and we could see the glow of the flames on the hillside.
Then when things finally seemed to be under control, the fire in Kršan suddenly reignited and another fire was announced near Tinjan in central Istria. We heard the Canadair planes whizzing overhead on their way to drop seawater onto the flames.
Forest fires are very common during very hot and dry summers like the one we’re experiencing. And unfortunately they are not always started by natural phenomena like lightning but also purposely by arsonists.
So the thunderstorm last night and the intermittent showers we’ve been having all morning have been very welcome. The forecast for the next few days is a more comfortable 30/31 degrees and hopefully all the fires have been extinguished and the risk of fire is diminished. The fire-fighters can finally take a rest and so can our trusty fan!