The most serious forest fires ever seen on the island of Ibiza have been raging out of control since Wednesday – 2000 hectares have already been completely destoyed. The worst affected area is Morna, en Sant Joan de Llabritja. It is believed that the fire was started accidentally by a beekeeper. According to the regional interior minister for the Balearic Islands fire fighters have been unable to bring the fire under control and cannot say when they might be able to gain control due to the terrain where the fire has taken hold which means that it is spreading rapidly. According to information given in a press conference fire fighters are now trying to prevent the fire crossing the old Portinatx road and a security zone between this area and Sant Vicent de sa Cala has been established with the aim of preventing the fire reaching the local population. However strong winds are hampering efforts to extinguish the fire and helping it to spread quickly. Yesterday a school in Sant Joan was evacuated although according to the regional government there was no real threat to students and the measure was taken purely as a preventative step.
In addition around 200 people have been evacuated from around 80 homes in the areas bordering Portinatx as well as 700 tourists staying in the ‘Paradise’ hotel. Over 250 people are taking part in the efforts to put out the fire including 30 pilots and 50 technical experts. In addition over 200 personnel from the Emergency Military Unit are helping fire fighting teams today in order to increase efforts to gain control of the fire. In a press conference the president of the regional government of the Balearic Islands, Francesc Antich, said that the fire has burnt 2000 hectares of forest in 24 hours but that everything possible was being done to prevent the fire spreading further. He said that numerous aerial measures were being implemented as an integrated part of the efforts to extinguish the fire including 8 planes and 8 helicopters.
Nevertheless he said that a large natural area had already been lost to the fire and a lot depended on meteorological conditions which with intense heat, strong south-easterly winds and low humidity were not helping. Antich could not give any indication of when he thought that the fire would be brought under control.