JOSELE

Latest Sierra Bermeja fire may have been sparked accidentally, say investigators

Initial investigations suggest the cause was an accident and it happened during maintenance works on one of the largest estates in the area, spread across the municipalities of Benahavís, Júzcar and Pujerra in Malaga province

JUAN CANO / IRENE QUIRANTE Malaga

The investigation into the fire which began in Pujerra last week and has burned over 3,500 hectares of the Sierra Bermeja so far is beginning to come up with results. It looks as if the cause was an accident and it occurred during maintenance works on La Resinera estate. The fire is still burning but has been stabilised since last Friday.

The enquiry is being carried out by officers from the Forest Fire Investigation Brigade (BIIF) and the Guardia Civil’s Seprona unit, who have found no indication that the fire was started deliberately or that it has any connection with the one which began in Jubrique last September and burned over 9,000 hectares of the Sierra Bermeja.

A legal investigation will now decide whether negligence was to blame during maintenance works at the 6,500 hectare estate which was owned by the Libyan Foreign Bank (Forebank). It will take into account the weather conditions in the area on 8 June, when temperatures reached 37C and there were gusts of wind over 40 kilometres an hour

The fire was stabilised on Friday and the Infoca fire prevention service is still working to control it completely. At present 62 fire fighters are at the scene. On Monday they managed to secure 80% of the boundary of the blaze, focusing mainly on the eastern side and areas they consider to be hot spots.

Residents had to be evacuated from their homes in Benahavís village and some urbanisations in Estepona last week because of the danger from the fire, and three fire fighters have been injured. Two were released from hospital quite quickly, but one had suffered burns to more than 10% of his body.