Huge fires burn on Apparition Hill

Huge fires burn on Apparition Hill

By Jakob Marschner on Sep 2, 2012

Several major fires on Apparition Hill burn atop the part of the village where the visionaries live. While great damage to the hill has already taken place, a change of wind direction has slightly calmed the situation that at some point had locals think damage to houses was coming.

medjugoirje fire fires burning apparition hill podbrdo september 1 2 2012

Apparition Hill at 1.30 am local time on Sunday, after the wind had changed direction to the better.  Photo: Mate Vasilj

Apparition Hill in Medjugorje is in flames. In the evening and night of September 1-2 a group of major fires are burning to the left of the path up the hill.

After a nervous evening and night, in the morning of September 2 local citizen Danijela Cilic told Medjugorje Today at Facebook that the situation could be a lot worse than it is.

“Houses in our village are not in danger. There is still fire under Apparation Hill, but it goes to the other side. So there is no reason for panic. Pilgrims are praying the Rosary as every second day of the month, a few hours before Our Lady is going to appear to Mirjana” Danijela Cilic informed about 7 am on September 2.

Before that, other reports had been less positive.

“It has been pretty severe, the fire seems to be getting closer and closer to the site of the first apparitions. The wind has changed over the past hour or so, it is driving the fire north east now. Let us pray and hope it does not change again. We have not had rain for almost four full months, and the forecast does not look promising” local guide and webmaster Mate Vasilj reported at medjugorje.net about 1.30 am local time on Sunday.

View of Apparition Hill earlier on September 1 when the situation was more critical than later. Photo: Pietro Giovetti

“Rain is scheduled for tonight, and I hope it will come overnight to somewhat stop the fire” the major local Facebook page Medjugorje 25.06.81 reported about 9 pm on the previous evening.

About the same time, a report from the Irish travel agency Joe Walsh Tours mirrored the more critical situation before the change of wind direction:

“The fire is now burning out of control and racing across Apparition Hill towards the path that leads to the site of the apparitions. There are fires raging everywhere around but this one could cause huge damage to Apparition Hill” said the report, quoted at the Medjugorje Live message board.

The situation can be followed live by means of the webcam put in place by Medjugorje Live.

Two hours later, at 11 pm, Medjugorje resident Ania Goledzinowska reported to Informazioni da Medjugorje that the fires were 300 meters from the Virgin Mary’s statue on the hill. By then, the former model was less optimistic than others, predicting that “Medjugorje is going to burn”.

The fires were fought from the air, a move necessitated by the rocky ground on Apparition Hill:

“Because of the rough terrain, it is difficult for firefighers to go up personally, so the helicopter came to help” Medjugorje 25.06.81 informed at 9 pm.

While visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s apparition in the morning of September 2 was long thought by many to have to take place in her home instead of at The Blue Cross at the base of Apparition Hill, at 1 pm on Sunday local citizen Laura Marcazzan Budimir told Informazoni da Medjugorje that no change was being planned:

“Mirjana’s husband, Marko, said that the apparition will take place at The Blue Cross” Laura Marcazzan Budimir passed on to Informazioni da Medjugorje, a situation Medjugorje 25.06.81 had not expected four hours earlier:

“As the fire gets closer to the site of the apparitions, it is questionable whether tomorrow’s apparition to Mirjana will be at the Blue Cross or in her house. Around 25,000 pilgrims are expected tomorrow for the apparition, and it is a big risk to take” the local Facebook page reported at 9 pm on September 1.

UPDATES

September 2 at 8.45 am:
Calming report from Danijela Cilic added, headline and abstract changed.

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