Forest fires in Alicante and Valencia

The fires in Costa Blanca and Valencia made worse by 120km winds

Yesterday fire fighters managed to successfully bring both forest fires in the provinces of Alicante and Valencia under control although they have still not all been put out. The fires which began on Saturday have affected an area measuring approximately 1,100 hectares.

The most serious fire in La Nucía in the province of Alicante was brought under control at about 18.00 hours yesterday more than 24 hours after it began. Efforts to extinguish it were hampered by the gales affecting the province.

According to the Centre for the Coordination of Emergencies this fire has burned about 1,006 hectares of land, 960 of which is a forest area. The affected area is larger than that previously estimated by the regional government which put the figure at about 700 hectares.

The fire which was brought under control yesterday is believed to have started on Saturday at around 9.20am. The municipalities affected are: La Nucía, Benidorm, Finestrat, Alfàs del Pi y Polop, which are all in the area of la Marina Baixa.

The fires were extinguished with the support of 10 planes and helicopters although these were prevented from taking off yesterday due to the strong gales affecting the area.

Until the aerial support was available a total of 700 men and women including fire fighters, forest guards, civil guards and soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit all participated in the efforts to bring the fires under control. Although the aerial support has now been withdrawn a close watch is being kept on the affected areas to ensure that the fires do not reappear.

The other fire in the municipality Genovés is believed to have burned around 90 hectares according to the forestry unit belonging to the department for the environment for the regional government.

This fire is believed to have originated in a forested area dominated by pine trees at around 18.30 hours on Saturday afternoon. It spread rapidly to the nearby municipalities of Benigànim and Barxeta, between the areas known as La Costera and la Vall d’Albaida. This fire was brought under control by 225 fire fighters, forest guards and soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit together with the aerial support of four planes and helicopters.

The storms and gales that raged across Spain this weekend have caused 9 deaths, including that of four children in Barcelona who were killed when the sports centre they were in collapsed due to the fierce winds. All Spanish communities, except for Extremadura, remain on red or yellow alert today.