Forest fires in Spain: 14,000 hectares burned down and destroyed in a few days

by Lorraine Williamson
hectares destroyed

MADRID – A new fire raises concerns in Extremadura. This is in addition to dozens of other active wildfires in the country that have burned and destroyed more than 14,000 hectares.  

The high temperatures of the past few days during the second heat wave of the summer are not cooperating. Of particular concern is the evolution of the outbreaks in Extremadura, Castilla y León and Málaga. Fires are raging in various parts of the peninsula, such as Cáceres, Salamanca, Málaga and Lugo. Furthermore, these are significant fires that are difficult to extinguish. 

The initial estimates of the damage caused speak of more than 14,000 hectares destroyed during the heatwave. The region of Extremadura has been hit hardest by the flames in recent days. The fire that broke out in Casas de Miravete (Cáceres) is receiving full attention. Moreover, they want to prevent it from reaching the Monfragüe National Park. However, the situation improved during the course of Saturday. This allowed circulation on the A-5 to be restored after being closed for hours due to the advancing fire. 

Fire between Cáceres and Salamanca 

Meanwhile, in the Las Hurdes region of Cáceres, the fire that broke out in Ladrillar on Monday and spread to Salamanca province has already destroyed an estimated 6,500 hectares. This fire is evolving positively, despite its “complexity”, according to a spokesman for Infoex, Extremadura’s forest firefighting service. 

Similarly, Málaga is concerned about the situation in the Sierra de Mijas. Here, more than 3,000 residents have already been evacuated due to a severe fire. However, this morning (Sunday), the municipalities of Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre reported that most residents were already able to return to their homes. The fire here destroyed more than 1,890 acres. 

‘Technical fire’ was deployed and machines created a firebreak near the Pinos de Alhaurín urbanisation to protect the houses. This was met with success because on Sunday they too could go home. 

The fire at Monfragüe 

In Extremadura, the fire at Casas de Miravete, at the gates of the Monfragüe Natural Park, requires intense work. In addition, the A-5 highway had to be closed for hours between km 200 and km 219. However, after a certain stabilisation of the fire in that section, the road was reopened on Saturday afternoon. 

This fire had already destroyed 3,000 hectares by Saturday. Furthermore, it has forced residents of the towns of Romangordo and Higuera de Albalat to be evacuated. Strong gusts of wind and stifling heat have hampered the firefighting operations here. Work has been carried out by more than 250 people, with 17 ground units, 15 fire-fighting planes and machines. Another 40 people from the Andalucian corps have joined in to help extinguish this fire. 

Fire at Las Hurdes 

In Las Hurdes, Infoex is focusing its firefighting efforts on the Las Mestas area to prevent the fire from spreading to the La Batuecas Valley. Despite an uptick in the fire in the Aceitunilla area, the fire service managed to prevent further development. 

The Junta de Extremadura reports that both the fire at Las Hurdes and the fire declared in Casas de Miravete this Sunday will remain at a level 2 hazard. Infoex also receives help from the national military emergency unit UME. The evolution of both fronts has been positive overnight within the ‘complexity’ of the situation. The fires remain “stable with resurgence”. 

nederlandse orthopeed

165 fires in a week in Castilla y León 

The situation in Castilla y León, which was affected only a month ago by the great fire in the Sierra de Culebra that destroyed more than 24,000 hectares, is permanently on edge this week. The region has registered 165 actions to extinguish fires in just one week. The province of Burgos is the hardest hit. 

The fire at Monsagro (Salamanca) stands out and there is still a danger level of 2 because of the changing wind and the strong heat. Circumstances that contributed to the fire still not being stabilised. The fire has already destroyed more than 9,000 hectares here and also caused two other outbreaks. 

This situation led to the eviction of the municipalities of Guadapero and Morasverdes, whose inhabitants have been transferred to Ciudad Rodrigo, and the monastery in the Las Batuecas Valley. The monks have been transferred to La Alberca. 

The Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, travelled to Maíllo (Salamanca) yesterday to visit the command post and the troops fighting the forest fires. There he indicated that he wanted to opt for “winter prevention” and “every season” as “real policy” to fight fires in a time of “climate change”. 

Andalucia 

Not only is the fire in Mijas a cause for concern, but a new fire also broke out in Villarrodrigo (Jaén), which is developing towards the municipality of Montiel in Ciudad Real (Castilla-La Mancha). Currently, the authorities have assigned this fire hazard level 1 and more than 20 agents and around 100 firefighters are already working on the ground. 

Fire in Navafria (Segovia) 

In the province of Segovia, a forest fire was declared in the municipality of Navafría. Here the national road N-110 was closed. It is estimated that the flames have now destroyed around 1,000 hectares. Despite the difficulties caused by the weather conditions, the regional government reports that efforts early Saturday morning have been “difficult, but decisive” in stabilising the perimeter of this blaze. 

Five helicopters, three fire engines, four ground personnel, six environmental officers, two technicians, a BRIF brigade, three teams of forest firefighting specialists (ELIF), the municipal fire brigade and a support unit for the advanced command post cooperated. 

On Saturday, a fire was declared in the municipality of Cebreros in Ávila province. Last year a fire destroyed almost 1,000 hectares here. Furthermore, the Junta de Castilla y León has awarded level 1. 

4,600 hectares burned down in Galicia 

The heat wave, characterised by extreme temperatures and locally strong winds, has also led to an increase in forest fires in Galicia in recent hours. At least 4,600 hectares have burned down here in about 13 different outbreaks so far. The most voracious fires are the two declared in Folgoso de Courel (Lugo) with 1,400 hectares burned and the one in A Pobra de Brollón (Lugo), with 550 hectares destroyed. 

Across the community, 30 air and numerous ground resources have been deployed to extinguish the fires as quickly as possible. 

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