Photo: Forest Fires in Spain
A fire continues to burn on the Spanish island of La Gomera, in the Atlantic Canary Islands archipelago, while the other forest fires that affected different parts of the country, including the one on the nearby island of Tenerife, have been largely brought under control after destroying thousands of hectares (acres).
Experts are not forecasting that the most active fronts of the La Gomera fire will be able to be stabilized in the coming hours, given that the weather outlook includes rising temperatures, drier conditions and wind, although in the rest of Spain the recent heat has begun to abate.
This could cause the fire foci that seemed to be extinguished to reactivate, Juan Santana, the general director of security and emergencies, said, adding that officials had not yet authorized the more than 4,500 people who were forced to go to shelters to return to their homes.
On Tenerife, some 369 hectares (about 925 acres) have been destroyed while the count stands at 470 hectares (about 1,175 acres) on La Gomera, added to the 3,100 hectares (7,750 acres) that had been damaged before last Friday the fire that had begun the previous Saturday resurged.
Municipal officials on Tenerife said that the fire on the island is stabilized except for a “very complicated” front extending for 150 meters (about 500 feet) between Bolico and Santiago del Teide.
A total of six helicopters and three cistern aircraft are being used to prevent the flames from advancing on La Gomera, while on Tenerife, 72 soldiers with the Military Emergencies Unit, or UME, have been deployed from the southern Spanish city of Sevilla to help in the efforts to extinguish the blaze.
In the northwestern region of Galicia, the mayors of O Barco and Rubia, municipalities that have been affected by the fire registered there on the weekend, told Efe that the situation seems to be “calm,” although there are still active foci near both towns.
The fire that broke out last Friday in the parish of Santigoso, in O Barco, in the Galician district of Orense, has destroyed 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres), according to preliminary data provided by the Galician regional government, making it the first big forest fire of the summer in that region.
Being used in the efforts to control the fires in Galicia are 13 helicopters and 16 aircraft, along with UME personnel and local fire brigades.
The mayor of Navas de Estena, Isidro Corsino, told Efe that the fire in the Cabañeros National Park could have burned about 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres).
According to figures provided by the city hall, the flames destroyed a large part of the public hilly area that is municipal property, as well as parts of private farms.
Corsino said that the fire is “somewhat controlled,” but that air and ground units are continuing to work on putting it out.
The fire that broke out on Saturday afternoon in La Dehesilla de Almonte near the Doñana National Park has destroyed 300 hectares (750 acres) of low hills and pasture, all on protected land.
The fire registered on Saturday afternoon in Montellano in the south that affected an area of pine forest was reported to have been stabilized on Sunday morning.
Four hundred hectares (1,000 acres), meanwhile, were burned by the fire that erupted on Friday in the Bustillo de Valderredible hills in northern Cantabria, but that blaze was extinguished on Sunday, the regional government told Efe.
The forest fire registered on Saturday in Uceda in central Spain is being stabilized, although it is not yet under control.
The national emergency management office on Sunday maintained its alert regarding the current heat wave and the risk of forest fires, asking that the public pay “special attention to lit cigarettes, trash and glass bottles that act like a magnifying glass with the sun.”
Spain this summer is suffering from numerous and important forest fires.
A combination of high temperatures, a lack of rain during the winter - which was the driest since 1947 - and wind velocities in excess of 30 kph (about 19 mph) are among the risk factors fostering the outbreak and spread of fires.