Juanma Moreno hugs the mother of Carlos Martínez, who died fighting the fire. / sur

Posthumous gold medal awarded to Carlos Martínez, the Infoca firefighter who died while battling the Sierra Bermeja blaze

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, also awarded medals and diplomas to environmental protection and Civil Protection officers for their actions in September

MATÍAS STUBER Malaga

Carlos Martínez Haro was 44 when he died fighting the fire in the Sierra Bermeja last September, and he left behind his wife and two daughters aged six and nine. Carlos, who had been a forest fire fighter with Infoca for six years, was working with colleagues at the side of the road which leads to Peñas Blancas, a place which will be marked forever by his tragic death. Yesterday, 9 March, the regional government, colleagues and relatives paid tribute to him when he was posthumously awarded the Civil Protection’s gold medal of merit at a ceremony in Seville.

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, also awarded medals and diplomas to environmental protection and Civil Protection officers who fought the blaze which devastated more than 9,000 hectares of woodland. However, the most emotional moment was when the posthumous medal was awarded to Carlos, and Moreno enveloped his parents, Eusebio Martínez and Encarnación Haro, in a hug.

Among the environmental protection officers from Malaga to receive an award were the provincial coordinator, Juan Antonio Gil, and the coordinator of the Genal Valley unit, Antonio Ruiz, who were presented with silver medals.

The fire in the Sierra Bermeja devastated a natural area of huge environmental importance, dotted with small villages in the Genal Valley which are home to about 7,000 people.