Andalucia wants tougher penalties for pyromania after major Sierra Bermeja fire

by Lorraine Williamson
pyromania or drug gang?

SEVILLE – On Tuesday, President Juanma Moreno of Andalucia has assured he will start a ‘fight’ for changes to the penal code and make penalties for pyromania more severe. This is in response to the large forest fire in the Sierra Bermeja, which was started deliberately. 

The fire was started in two places in the municipality of Genalguacil on Wednesday, September 8. They were at a time when a very strong westerly wind was blowing. The fire first moved through the Sierra Bermeja to the coast. Consequently, residents of three neighbourhoods in Estepona and Benahavís had to be evacuated.

Then the wind turned and the Valle del Genal was threatened. In the end, six villages had to be completely evacuated. In total, almost 10,000 hectares – mainly nature reserves – have been reduced to ashes. 

‘Blessed Rain’ 

Moreno thanked ‘this blessed rain’ that helped the fire brigade get the fire under control on Tuesday. In a tweet, he said, “The rain that has been following for hours has been the best ally of the intense and admirable work of the checkpoints. Level 0 is activated. However, now a complex phase remains until its extinction.

The president mourned the death of a 44-year-old firefighter. And also the loss of numerous material goods and the destruction of one of the green lungs in the province of Málaga.

Furthermore, he pointed to the very complicated conditions under which Infoca had to work. And indicated the water that helicopters threw over the fire had already evaporated before it reached the ground. Fire rained down as a result of the pyrocumulus that arose three times. And the fire formed its own climate with a very changeable wind, which exceeded the extinguishing capacity at certain times on Sunday and Monday. 

Moreno also pointed out that, in addition to people with pyromanis, or mental problems, sometimes fires are set by drug gangs who want to divert the attention of police and security services from their criminal activities. 

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