Forest fire in La Palma continues out of control
The forest fire on the island of La Palma (the Canary Islands) continued out of control yesterday. On Saturday evening dozens of houses and flats which had been evacuated were destroyed by the fire.
The regional authorities believe that so far the fire has destroyed between 1,500 and 2000 hectares of land although within this area some pockets of land could remain intact. Efforts to extinguish the fire currently involve 600 people.
Yesterday the drop in temperatures on La Palma and the change in the direction of the wind gave rise to some optimism. However, the fire still continued out of control last night and has now affected parts of the National Park, Cumbre Vieja.
José Miguel Ruano, speaking on behalf of the government of the Canary Islands gave a press conference last night. He said that the fire which was affecting the southern part of La Palma had been contained since last Friday. However, he also stressed that ‘contained’ was not the same as ‘under control’.
Investigations into the causes of the fire were opened yesterday.
The president of the government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, visited the area affected by the fire yesterday to evaluate damage. He announced that government measures would be approved in August to grant financial aid to those affected by the fire which would be in addition to the help provided by the government of the Canary Islands.
Speaking at a press conference Zapatero said that there would be help for those who have lost their houses or those who have lost land to the fire used for agricultural or industrial purposes. Zapatero said that the fire was very serious and that he expected more positive news soon given that efforts to contain it were advancing significantly yesterday.
The government maintained the whole of Spain on high alert of forest fires yesterday especially in the area to the north of Cuenca, Sevilla, the southern part of Guadalajara and Málaga.