AFTER weeks of high temperatures and barely any rain, Saturday’s electric storms are most likely the cause of wild fires in Castellón and Alicante, regional justice minister, Gabriela Bravo, said this morning (Monday).
Bravo visited the emergency services’ command centre, and spoke after attending a meeting of the CECOPI (Central de Coordinación Operativa Integrada) the group convened when there are “large scale emergencies” which she said these fires were. She also gave huge thanks to all those risking their own lives to save the lives of others.
Vall d’Ebo, Alicante
The blaze in the Vall d’Ebo, Alicante, has already burnt 6,500 hectares of land, within a perimeter of 50km. So far 1,200 people have been evacuated from their homes and the authorities are considering whether or not to also evacuate residents from the towns of Castell de Castells and Tollos.
Bravo said the fire was “very complicated” due to the terrain which has lots of deep barrancos (dry river beds) meaning most of the work at extinguishing the flames has had to be done from the air. However, the problem with this, she explained, was that in order to be safe, not many aircraft could work at the same time as the smoke from the fire makes visibility very poor. “Protecting) the lives of people and professionals was the most important thing” she said.
According to regional secretary for emergencies, José María Ángel, speaking on Cadena Ser radio on Monday morning. firefighters had worked tirelessly throughout the night, including 30 crews from Alicante and nine units from the regional forest firefighters. Today (Monday) up to 12 aerial units were expected to join fire crews on the ground in fighting the blaze.
In a statement, Alicante provincial president and president of the Provincial Consortium of Firefighters, Carlos Mazón, said “around 300 firefighters are continuing to work in the area to try to contain the flames of a fire that still has us all with our hearts in our mouths.”
According to Mazón, the firefighters are working in “extreme” conditions and have made it possible to “literally save the (nearby) municipality of Vall de Alcalá” and he added that the crews will continue to work “tirelessly to ensure the safety of the people in the affected areas”.
Les Useres, Castellón
In Castellón a blaze in Les Useres continues to blaze and has so far burnt 800 hectares with a perimeter of 21 km.
Bravo said that 150 firefighters were tackling the blaze, although she said the outlook was favourable as there was to be more humidity later today and especially tonight which would help dampen the fire. She said there were just two focal points left which were being controlled.
A third fire in Calles, Valencia, which also began on Saturday, has been brought under control allowing fire crews from there to be rediverted and help their colleagues in the Vall d’Ebo.
The maximum level 3 fire risk remains in place throughout the region and 17 of the region’s 22 natural park remain closed to visitors.