Fire destroys 900 hectares in Ávila

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Forest fire in Avila destroys 900 hectars

PROVINCIA DE ÁVILA – In the municipality of El Tiemblo, a forest fire destroyed around 900 hectares. The area on fire was steep and difficult to access for firefighters. It was classed as level 2.

The fire started on Friday afternoon. Air and land resources have been working to put out the fire in El Tiemblo in Ávila province.  Over 900 hectares have been destroyed. The area is near the Iruelas Valley Nature Reserve. Due to falling temperatures the situation on Sunday evening looked better.

Troops sent to the fire

Saturday morning, the flames began to stabilise after a “sore heavy” night due to changes in wind direction, high temperatures, low humidity and the erratic orography of the site. All factors that hindered the work of firefighters.

The fire was classified by authorities as level 2. That classification requires the mobilisation of the UME Military Emergency Unit and a team of at least 470 people. The fire, stabilised but still uncontrolled, caused the N-403 national road to be closed around 7 p.m.

The Ministry of Defence decided on Friday, given the “virulence” of the flames, that in addition to the emergency base installed in León, UME patrols in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) would travel to Ávila. In total, Defence sent 131 troops and 50 resources to the area to extinguish the fire. At one point over 500 people were firefighting in the area.

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According to sources the cause of the fire which started around 6 pm on Friday is not yet known. The fire was initially classified as Level 1. However, an hour later due to the spread and “virulence” of the flames, as well as partly due to the closure of the N-403 national road, this was changed to Level 2. Fires are classified within a scale of 0 to 3 due to the risk to the population and property.

The “highly explosive” character of the fire was enhanced by the complex orography of this area near the Burguillo reservoir. It is difficult to access and has proximity of towns and farms.

Declaration of a catastrophic area

The City Council of the Avila town of Cebreros – the adjacent municipality of El Tiemblo – will request from the Government of Spain the declaration of a catastrophic area for its municipal term. In the statement, the City Council points out it must be taken into account that the flames have affected different crops, such as vineyards. This area is the main wine producer in the province, hence it has the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Cebreros, the last of Castilla y León to be recognised by the Junta.

While there have been various severe forest fires across Spain, he country has got off lightly compared to other parts of southern Europe.

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