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Learning English - Words in the News
 
06 August, 2007 - Published 12:31 GMT
 
Dubrovnik threatened by forest fire
 
A firefighter near Dubrovnik

A state of emergency has been declared in Croatia, after a forest fire reached the suburbs of the medieval coastal city of Dubrovnik. The walled city is a major tourist attraction, and is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. This report from Nicholas Walton:

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The city of Dubrovnik is one of the most recognisable tourist attractions on the coasts of Europe, with its gigantic angular stone fortifications jutting out into the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Inside the city walls it is a mass of tiled roofs, stone towers and mazy streets.

Now the area of coastline where it is situated is threatened by a major forest fire. The fire has been spread from inland Bosnia and Hercegovina by strong winds, and it has now reached the suburbs of Dubrovnik. So far the main tourist areas, inside the walled city itself, are not at risk, but the homes of Croat residents, lining the streets and hills overlooking Dubrovnik, are.

The city's mayor says emergency services are ready to evacuate residents if fire-fighting planes and around three hundred firefighters on the ground don't manage to stop the blaze from spreading. But after several months of very high temperatures the earth and undergrowth is extremely dry, and prone to catch fire.

Nicholas Walton, BBC News, Sarajevo

Listen to the words

gigantic angular stone fortifications
very big strong walls and towers made of stone to protect a city or a place and having a clear shape with sharp points

jutting out
sticking out (beyond the edge of something, e.g. the shoreline)

mazy streets
a complicated system of streets and passages which makes it difficult for people to find their way through

major
bigger or more serious than others

inland
towards or in the middle of a country, away from its borders

lining the streets
situated/standing along the streets

emergency services
people who have been specially trained and have special equipment to deal with dangerous or serious situations

to stop the blaze from spreading
to prevent the fire affecting even larger territories

undergrowth
bushes, small trees and plants growing under the trees of a forest

prone to
very likely to

 
 
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