ALHAURÍN DE LA TORRE – The large forest fire in the Sierra de Mijas in the heart of the Costa del Sol continues. The work of 400 firefighters has been aided by 17 firefighting planes and helicopters. A total of 3,065 people were evacuated.
300 residents of Lauro Golf were able to return to their homes. The fire brigade is currently working tirelessly to prevent worse. Practically the entire north side of the Sierra de Mijas is already black. The fire must be prevented from developing further using all possible efforts.
Fire approaching a gas station
The BP gas station at Venta Los Morenos and the Chorro district in Alhaurín el Grande has just been evacuated, as well as the La Mota zone at restaurant Finca La Mota. According to the fire service, this fire is worse than the one in 2012 that started in Barranco Blanco, not far from this gas station and spread all the way to Marbella and Ojén. The density of pine trees is high on the north slope and there are large amounts of combustible material due to lack of winter maintenance and low rainfall in the spring.
Despite a relatively moderate wind (southeast and 14 km per hour), the conditions today, Saturday, have become more difficult due to a decreased humidity level (25%) and very high temperatures (at 6.00 pm still 31 degrees). Due to how the pine trees – not native vegetation, by the way – burn, many sparks have formed that fly in all directions and form new fires. As a result, the fire flares up again in other places.
Alhaurín Golf threatened by flames
Just after five o’clock, the flames approached Alhaurín Golf. See the photo further down on this page. The neighbourhood is currently being evacuated (5.34 pm). The A-387 running along this from Alhaurín to Mijas-Pueblo is closed from km 0 to Mijas Pueblo in both directions. The A-404 from Alhaurín el Grande to Alhaurín de la Torre is closed between km 9 – km 18 reports #IFMijas.
“Fire less aggressive than Friday”
According to Infoca spokesman Alejandro Molina, the fire is less aggressive than Friday when it raged at a speed of 50 metres per second with a “massive ignition of secondary fires”. Today it has been possible to perform extinguishing work on all perimeters of the fire.
Some residents could return to their homes
However, according to the mayor of Alhaurín el Grande, the fire has flared up again in the area above Pinos de Alhaurín and is now moving north. He emphasises that the inhabited areas are safe and work is underway to return the first residents to their homes.
Forest fire has a front of 20 kilometres
Besides the high temperatures on Saturday, the densely vegetated mountainous terrain are complicating the situation. The fire has a front of almost 20 kilometres in length and the smoke makes the extinguish tasks from the air more difficult.
Authorities advise residents of both Alhauríns to close their windows and doors as much as possible. There is a high concentration of smoke and soot particles in the air.
The fire started around 1.00 pm on Friday in the ‘El Higueron’ zone in the Sierra de Mijas.
Criticism of governments and poor forest management
There is much criticism of the policy on Twitter under the hashtag #IFMijas and #IFAlhaurin. One wonders what needs to be done and how long it will take for an adequate response to the many fires that arise in this area every year. The forests are burning yet the authorities are forgoing preventive forest maintenance in winter due to austerity reasons.
Why is the national military fire brigade not helping?
A lot of people on Twitter critisise the current president of Andalucia. People wonder why his government has still not asked for help from the military fire service UME.
@IncendiosAndalucia tweeted: “I see a lot of discussion about whether the@UMEgob should perform in the #IFMijas or if we are already too late. Never doubt that INFOCA wants the best for Andalucia and that when they need it, they will ask for help. The autonomous community is the one that should ask for help from the central government.
Via this link you get an impression of the affected area and the forest fire and how it is developing. Please note that the images are not live.