Situation of forest fires in Castellón still critical, strong winds not cooperating

by Lorraine Williamson
Castellón fire

Wind gusts reactivated the fire in Villanueva de Viver (Castellón) in the Maigmona ravine area on Sunday. Therefore, the Spanish government is pushing to stop the advance towards Montán and Montanejos and new decisions to protect the population are being discussed. Spain’s Pedro Sánchez, will visit the areas affected by the fires on Monday, Spanish media reported. 

Auxiliary forces are trying with maximum care to prevent fire from advancing towards the towns of Montán and Montanejos through the CV-195 and CV-20, and fire from reaching the Sierra de Espadán Natural Park. This was stated by Justice, Interior and Public Administration councillor Gabriela Bravos on Sunday after the coordination meeting in the town of Barracas in Castellón. Currently, the fire has a perimeter of 40 kilometres and about 3,800 hectares burnt 

Bravos stated the weather was quite favourable’ for the extinguishing tasks, for critical hours between 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm Sunday. This was due to the three factors that determine the strength of the fire: high winds, humidity below 20% and high temperatures. ‘Unfortunately these have come earlier than the time of year when they usually occur,’ she added. 

Fighting from the air 

Currently, most of the 500 ground troops and 18 aircraft are involved in extinguishing the flames. Extinguishing is so difficult because the terrain is hard to reach. 

Therefore, work is being done from the air, while ground troops have set up defences to prevent the fire from hitting the towns of Montán and Montanejos and the Sierra de Espadán Natural Park.  

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Uncertainty for evacuated residents 

The 1,500 evacuated people do not yet know when they will be able to return to their homes. Going back now would pose a serious risk to the population, she said, adding that “the decision to evict them was taken to protect the residents and professionals”. 

When asked if the evacuation of other cities, and specifically the municipality of Cirat, has been considered, she stressed there is attention and concern for the situation of residents. For example, if there are people who are sick, so everything is already planned, the best way to deal with an emergency is to organise it preventively, she said.  

Let emergency workers do their job 

Calling for great caution and responsibility from the population, Bravos urged tourists not to engage in fire tourism and to stay away from the area. She lamented that the Guardia Civil found 14 cyclists on Saturday in areas that had been closed due to the proximity of the fire. 

‘It is dangerous and thoughtless and we demand responsibility from all citizens. Do not approach rural roads thinking that you can escape the control of Guardia Civil agents, because you are putting your own life at risk and also that of the professionals who should act to help you,’ Bravos pleaded. 

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