On September 13, a forest fire ravaged the Spanish region of Andalusia, forcing around 2,600 people to evacuate. The blaze has so far consumed at least 18,285 acres of land, releasing huge plumes of smoke over the region’s mountains, visible for miles.
According to the deputy director of the Infoca Regional Operational Center, Andalusian Fire Prevention and Suppression Plan, Alejandro Garcia, the blaze, fueled by strong winds, had “unusual power and strength” and was recorded as moving in several directions. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the deployment of an emergency military unit in the area of the fire due to the intensity of the forest fire.
Countless rescuers have also helped slow and reduce the fires, with the Andalusian regional forest fire agency noting that hundreds of firefighters have helped fight the wildfire, with the support of 41 planes and 25 vehicles. .
The fire claimed the life of a rescuer.
According to Infoca, conditions improved overnight by September 13, with efforts focused on reducing the impact of the fire’s eastern wall. At the same time, Infoca noted that the fire was on an unprecedented scale in recent years, with greater complexity than other forest fires in the region.
Infoca also noted that climate change and neglected rural areas were partly responsible for the intensity of the fires. Infoca Regional Operations Center Director Juan Sánchez said: “Right now we are probably facing the most complicated fire that the Spanish firefighting services have faced in recent years.
The fire started in the Sierra Bermeja, a mountainous area above the famous Mediterranean tourist destination Estepona. The regional wildfire agency on Saturday asked residents of the local towns of Jubrique and Genalguacil to stay indoors due to rising low-level smoke levels in the area.
The fires, according to the regional chief of the environment Carmen Crespo, would have been started deliberately. Investigations to uncover the details of the case are ongoing, with investigators working tirelessly to locate those responsible for the blaze.
Andalusia Regional President Juanma Moreno has declared his commitment to bring those responsible to justice after visiting the region.
Since the end of August, 183,500 acres in Spain have been destroyed by forest fires. These statistics put Spain above the average for destruction over the past decade. 2012 remains the most devastating year for regional wildfires in the past decade, with 469,500 acres of land destroyed.
Data from the Ministry of the Environment shows a disturbing trend in the years recorded, seven of the ten hottest years on record in Spain having occurred in the last decade. This trend can be seen globally as well, with exceptionally large forest fires wreaking havoc around the world, especially this year. Scientists note that dry and extremely hot conditions, two symptoms of climate change, are behind the rise in large-scale forest fires.