OVIEDO – A wave of fires is raging in the northern Spanish regions of Asturias and Cantabria. No less than 116 fires have been counted. Most of the fires are still small and burning in sparsely populated areas, but others have already led to the evacuation of dozens of people. The fires are suspected acts of arson.
According to the president of Asturias, Adrián Barbón, 99% of the fires are lit deliberately. He speaks on Twitter about a “terrorist” arson wave in his region. The 116 fires are raging in 35 municipalities.
One of the fires is approaching the city of Oviedo. It rages on Mount Naranco in several places. The fire is visible from much of the city at the foot of the mountain where the Ciudad Naranco neighborhood is located. The flames destroyed part of the mountain from mid-height to the summit.
Communication cuts were announced on Thursday evening and will remain in effect on Friday. In the municipality of Valdés, the A-8 motorway remains interrupted except for emergency services between kilometre points 441 and 444 in Cadavedo, the N-634 in Trevías, the N-632 in Ballota, the AS-351 from Almuña to the town of Merás and the AS-219 in Naraval (Tineo). Train traffic will also remain closed at Cadavedo.
Another section of the Military Emergency Unit with 50 troops and 20 vehicles will participate in the firefighting effort on Friday. It joins the 95 military and 40 air units already deployed in the region. In addition, there will also be a BRIF from Tabuyo in León and the two MITECO seaplanes.
In the Asturian municipalities of Valdés, Villayón and Tineo, a total of 174 people have been evacuated from 39 houses. Many of the fires are still small in higher elevations where they do not pose a threat, but others have already led to the evacuation of dozens of people and the flames have reached some houses, huts and granaries in remote areas.
The extinguishing operation has been strengthened to more than 600 troops, assisted by dozens of land vehicles, two seaplanes and five helicopters. Given the seriousness of the situation, the President of the Principality, Adrián Barbón, decided yesterday to suspend a trip to Cebreros (Ávila) to participate in a meeting with his counterpart from Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco.
99% of fires by arson
Barbón confirmed last night that most of the fires – “99%” – are lit intentionally and he even assured that there are already “alleged suspects” of causing the fires. He added that strong action will be taken so that those responsible will face the “full weight of the law”. Because “whoever sets fire to a mountain is a criminal, a delinquent”.
NOS QUEMAN ASTURIAS
Nos enfrentamos a auténticos terroristas que están poniendo en peligro vidas, pueblos y ciudades. https://t.co/PemIvmgkaf
— 🌹 Adrián Barbón 💙💛 (@AdrianBarbon) March 31, 2023
On Friday, the Asturian president spoke on his Twitter account about “real terrorists” who are “endangering lives, towns and cities”.
Barbón himself explained yesterday with a graph the wave of fires that, although mainly concentrated in Asturias, have also reached Cantabria. “The situation is so that we can get an idea of what we are experiencing. Asturias and Cantabria is set on fire. I repeat: they, those who started the fire, are responsible. They are FIRE TERRORISTS,” it said.
La situación para que nos hagamos una idea de lo que estamos viviendo.
Asturias y Cantabria incendiadas.
Repito: ellos, los que prenden fuego, son los responsables.
Son TERRORISTAS DEL FUEGO, que ponen en riesgo la vida de las personas y de nuestros pueblos.
MÁXIMA PRECAUCIÓN. pic.twitter.com/XjVeFR3AHF
— 🌹 Adrián Barbón 💙💛 (@AdrianBarbon) March 30, 2023
Forest fires in Cantabria
This Friday, March ends with 38 active forest fires in the Cantabria region. The sad balance of the whole month is 330 registered fires in the mountains of the autonomous community. According to the regional government, they were all deliberately lit.
20 new fires since Thursday evening
According to data provided by the Cantabrian government early this Friday, 20 new fires have been recorded since 7.00 pm yesterday. The active fires are mainly registered in the Pas and Saja-Besaya area. The fire that started yesterday in the Cantabrian municipality of Tresviso in the Picos de Europa National Park also continues to proliferate.
In addition to Tresviso, the municipalities affected by forest fires this Friday are as follows;
- Cabuerniga (5)
- Los Tojos (7)
- Molledo (3)
- Cabezon de la Sal (2)
- Vega de Pas (2 )
- San Pedro Romeral
- Soba (2)
- Santiurde Toranzo
- San Roque
- Alfoz de Lloredo
- Commonwealth of Saja-Nansa