Teams working on the ground to smother any remaining hotspots. / SALVADOR SALAS

Sierra Bermeja forest fire is finally out after burning for more than six weeks

The huge blaze destroyed almost 9,600 hectares of land in the municipalities of Estepona, Casares, Jubrique, Júzcar, Genalguacil, Faraján and Benahavís and claimed the life of an Infoca firefighter

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ

The Sierra Bermeja forest fire has been declared officially extinguished, some six weeks after it broke out on 8 September.

The welcome announcement was made on Sunday (24 October) after the fire had swept across a total of 9,581 hectares of land in the municipalities of Estepona, Casares, Jubrique, Júzcar, Genalguacil, Faraján and Benahavís; at its height forcing 2,670 people from their homes and claiming the life of a forest firefighter.

Since the blaze was considered controlled on 13 September, Infoca crews continued with their reconnaissance flights and teams working on the ground to locate the hot spots that were still being detected due to tree roots still burning underground.

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, announced the news of the definitive extinction of the fire on social media networks. “It has been a month and a half of very hard work. Thanks to all of you who have given your soul to achieve it,” said the regional leader, who also remembered the Infoca firefighter, from Almeria, who lost his life tackling the flames.

Police investigation

Meanwhile, the police investigation continues as officers from the Seprona nature protection branch of the Guardia Civil work to find the person, or persons, who started the fire that has always been considered deliberate.

The Junta de Andalucía has allocated a 4.6 million euro emergency fund to help with the recovery of Sierra Bermeja and Genal valley areas. These actions will focus on publicly owned forest lands, which represent 78 per cent of the burned area (7,500 hectares). The first phase of the works will consist of stabilising the burned land, the cleaning of accesses to forest tracks, the repair of rural roads, work to reduce the risk of flooding and the construction of small dams.