Monday, 17 January 2022

Over 30 wildfires still active in northern Spain

Ventura County Fire Department/file

MADRID: Emergency Services in Spain’s northern region of Asturias confirmed that they are still fighting 37 wildfires centered on 20 different localities Tuesday morning.

The reports came after firemen and members of the Spanish Military’s Emergency Response Unit (UME) spent Monday working to extinguish what remained from the 139 fires which began in the region on Sunday afternoon.

The President of the Asturias regional assembly, Guillermo Martinez, commented on Monday, that “over 80 percent” of the fires were started deliberately.

The Regional Prosecution Service has announced it will open a full investigation into both the causes of the fires and the way they are being fought.

while environmental groups accused the regional authority of being over-tolerant of farmers who burn scrubland in order to create pasture for cattle and sheep.

The Ecological Coordinator for Asturias, one of the regional’s largest environmentalist groups, believes a decision taken in 2017 to allow animals to graze on previously burned woodland had created a “culture of fire.”

Over 400 firemen and troops are currently fighting the various fires with the help of nine aircraft and they are working against the clock as high winds are expected to reach the area by Tuesday evening, which help the spread of the flames.

Several hundred hectares of woodland have been destroyed in the flames, meanwhile a fire in the northern Basque Region destroyed 110 hectares of woodland close to the town of Muskiz.

A video filmed from the valley below where the fire began at three points almost simultaneously, appear to show someone moving on the hillside as the flames began to take hold. The blaze then caused several homes to be evacuated and the A-8 motorway to Bilbao to be temporarily closed, while destroying an area of natural woodland.

“I am convinced these fires were deliberate,” the Mayor of Muskiz, Borja Llano told the regional newspaper, Deia.

“It’s impossible the flames could move from one area to another and even cross a road to do so. It looks almost certain someone started it, but I can’t even begin to understand what they gain from these actions,” lamented Llano.

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