The Superpuma had 19 people onboard between the crew and the fire-fighters who were being transported to a new deployment area.
The accident occurred during take off when the rotor wash kicked up a huge cloud of dust, cutting off all visibility for the pilot. Consequently, the apparatus collided with a tree and fell back to the ground.
In separate incidents, two fire fighters have been injured, one by a falling rock which broke his hip. The other fire fighter had his ribs cracked when he was hit square on by a water-discharge from one of the aircraft.
The Junta describes the fire as “uprecedented in Spain” and gave the deployment figures, which consists of 996 personnel, 51 aircraft, thanks to the collaboration of other autonomous regions of Spain, such as Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Murcia and Extremadura, who have sent personnel and means.
The situation is critical because fire fighters have exhausted nearly all the available water in the area contained in private, open irrigation tanks and swimming pools.
As the situtation stands, the fire is classified as Sixth Generation (first experienced in Europe in the mega fires in Portugal in 2017) for its ferocity and intensity meaning that they simply can’t put it out – such fires either run out of fuel or heavy rains reduce them to a level that they can then be extinguished using human efforts and resources.
Such fires form their own weather system known as flammagenitus cloud, which are just as likely to produce rainfall as they are to produce lighting which spreads the fire further. At the temperatures reached, water used to extinguish the flames simply evaporates before it can have any effect.
So far the fire has consumed 8,000 hectares and is extended along a 90-km front.
(News: Sierra Bermeja, Málaga, Andalucia)