This weekend the Region of Murcia was on a state of high fire alert, due to the tinder box dry vegetation, and the risk of lightning strike as storms came across into the region on Saturday evening.
The first fire to break out was in Lorca, in an area two kilometres from Zarcilla de Ramos, in the Sierra del Calar and Sierra de las Minas. The fire was in an area of dense forest, and rapid intervention by specialist forestry brigades and Lorca firefighters managed to limit the damage to just 700 square metres of forest. The causes of the fire are being investigated.
Then on Sunday, another fire was reported in the Calasparra municipality, close to the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Esperanza, Calasparra's most important tourist attraction.
The fire was first reported at 8.30pm, in the Finca Cañaverosa, close to the banks of the River Segura, and as this is a heavily wooded area, three helicopters from their bases in Zarcilla de Ramos and the Sierra de la Pila, together with environmental forestry officials were detached rapidly to the area, with the support of fire brigades. With the light fading, the helicopters focused on extinguishing the perimeter fires, with local fire forces the able to bring the inner areas of the fore under control as night fell. The fire was declared extinguished at 1.15am, but damping down work continued this morning as fire agents began investigations into the cause of the fire.
It appears that yet again, the fire could have been deliberate, as there were three separate focal points, set in different points of the dense scrubland at the foot of the wooded area.
Meanwhile, in other parts of Spain, fierce fires have yet again caused tragedy. Last week major fires rages for several days in the Canary islands, followed by another major outbreak in Gerona, with 2 fires, one in La Jonquera and the other in the coastal area of Portbou.
4 people have been killed as the fires continued to spread, one of them a minor aged only 15, with 22 injured. Over a thousand people were evacuated last night in what fire forces are calling "the worst fire in the last 25 years." The most dramatic moments came in the Portbou area as the flames advanced towards a small population nucleus. Dozens of people were trapped by the fire, and, desperate to escape the advancing flames, jumped into the sea from high cliffs to try and escape. The 15 year old boy died after hitting the rocks, and a 60 year old man also died from the impact of the jump, whilst a third had a heart attack.
The fire has also caused severe disruption to traffic using the AP-7.
More firefighters have today joined the attempts to bring the fire under control.
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