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Casares forest fire damage limited by sudden wind change

The state in which the fire left the only home affected by the flames.
The state in which the fire left the only home affected by the flames. / Charo Márquez
  • The blaze was brought under control on Wednesday after authorities closed roads and rescued a man taking refuge in his swimming pool the previous evening

A forest fire broke out on Tuesday evening in the Sierra Crestellina near the town of Casares, forcing the closure of the MA-8300 and the evacuation of around twenty homes. A team including 120 firefighters, six specialist advisers and four environment agency workers, equipped with six helicopters and seven fire trucks, battled the flames throughout the evening and the next day.

The first emergency calls reached the authorities at 7.05pm, with callers reporting a forest fire in a pine forest near several homes. At 8.50pm the Junta de Andalucía, the regional government, put in place the Level 1 Emergency Plan for Forest Fires. The hilly terrain and winds of up to 25 kilometres per hour complicated efforts to tackle the blaze, but firefighters claimed to have the situation "stabilised" by 9am the next day, and "under control" by the evening. That morning, the authorities also reopened the MA-8300, and evacuated residents were permitted to return to their homes.

One house was burnt down during the fire; the owner, a Russian man, sheltered in his swimming pool until the emergency services arrived. The mayor of Casares, Pepe Carrasco, expressed his relief that more homes weren't affected, given how many there are in the area.

George, a British resident of nearby Puerto de la Cruz, spoke of his surprise on returning to his home and finding it intact the day after the blaze. According to both George and Helmut Singer, a German national also resident nearby, a sudden change in wind direction prevented the destruction of more properties.

Other locals seemed more angry than relieved, however; Puerto de la Cruz resident Benito Trujillano questioned the Junta's approach to forest fires, demanding fire breaks and other preventive measures.