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Emergency crews report 34 fires around Montenegro capital

Emergency officials in Montenegro say a total of 34 wildfires have erupted around the capital city, Podgorica, forcing firefighters into an all-night battle against the flames.

Crew leader Zlatko Blecic said Friday that strong winds and dry greenery hampered efforts to contain the fires. He said the army joined in to help put the situation under control.

Blecic says that "this is a record for the night shift, according to our statistics." He says the situation occasionally was critical.

Montenegro and the rest of the Balkans have been hit by a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit.)

Authorities in Podgorica have appealed to citizens to clear their yards of potentially flammable substances and avoid lighting fires in the open.