Aircraft drop water on the major forest fire still burning in Malaga province / JOSELE

High winds complicate the control of the Pujerra forest fire

Some 150 firefighters on the ground, supported by aircraft dropping water, continue their efforts to extinguish the Sierra Bermeja blaze which has been burning since last Wednesday

FRANCISCO GUTIÉRREZ

Strong winds, gusting to 40 km/h in the morning, and low relative humidity slowed down the work of controlling the Pujerra forest fire on Sunday,12 June. Some 150 people, on the ground, continued battling the flames and they were supported by aircraft dropping water on the fire that was declared stabilised on Friday morning, but remains uncontrolled.

The Malaga province blaze which started on Wednesday afternoon has already devastated more than 3,500 hectares of forest of great ecological value.

The Junta de Andalucía’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Carmen Crespo, has clarified that "there is still work to be done to control and extinguish" a fire that started at 3.19pm last Wednesday and was declared ‘stabilised’ on Friday at 9am.

On Sunday, 150 firefighters, five aircraft and seven fire tenders worked mainly on the perimeter of the fire. The Plan Infoca objective was to locate and cool hot spots, and to completely close the remaining 30% perimeter of the fire.

At the height of the blaze some thousand people were deployed until the fire was considered stabilised. During the work, three Plan Infoca were injured with burns of varying degrees.

The flames caused the precautionary evacuation of almost 3,000 people from five different population centres, including the urban area of ​​Benahavís and the Montemayor, Marbella Club, Benahavís Hills residential developments and six families from the Velerín Alto area.

Referring to this fire, and the one that happened last year, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, called on Spain’s Ministry of the Interior and the General Directorate of the Guardia Civil, "to intensify the investigation work."

"Someone has to pay"

Regarding the one in September in Sierra Bermeja, in which nearly 9,000 hectares burned, he pointed out that "we still don't know what happened." The Andalusian president said that these fires threaten "one of the most important lungs in the province of Malaga, one of the most important environmental gems in Spain", and have led to the loss of life of a firefighter in the past fire and three injuries during this; so "someone has to pay for this."

To questions from the journalists about whether any urban planning project was proposed in the area where this fire was declared, the president of the Junta pointed out that the area "is no longer developable from any point of view" because the law prevents it”.