The fire above the ski station on Sierra Nevada on Tuesday night could have been worse, but it wasn’t, thanks to the benevolent weather conditions.
There was virtually no wind and the temperature when the fire broke out was around 16C degrees. Had there been a strong wind (as there often is up there) blowing in the wrong direction, the fire might have reached the ski station with its hotels, restaurants shops and dwellings.
Yes, it was a lucky break because there is no fire-service installations up there, meaning that fire engines and crews have to come up from Monachil. Furthermore, you can’t fly fire fighters up there or carry out aerial water bombing in darkness.
The Chairman of the ski-station business association, Enrique de la Higuera, points out that there has long been a demand for a small fire contingent to be based there.
“Last night there was a lot of concern and uncertainty because the flames were quite high and very close to the Pradollano complex where there were around 1,000 people,” he explained.
The Spokesperson for the Union of Andalusian Fire Services has also spoken out against the lack of facilities up there saying that they have been pushing for a base in Pradollano because of the difficulty in reaching it during a call out.
“On Tuesday night it took the Granada Fire Services 45 minutes to reach the ski station – it’s impossible to get there sooner,” he explained, adding, “We need a fire engine with a 4-man crew plus driver and a fire truck with a ladder, two crew and driver, as a minimum, permanently stationed up there.”
As to the origin of the fire, fire investigators are looking into a report from an eye witness who saw a flare go up and come down, with the flames breaking out minutes later, just as the sun was setting. Furthermore, she was not the only one that saw it because 112 received several calls reporting the same.
Fortunately, the damage was slight and the fire contained within a relatively small area, but the incident is definitely a wake up call – the ski station might not be so lucky the next time round.
(News: Sierra Nevada, Granada, Andalucia)