A forest fire broke out yesterday afternoon in Pujerra mear Benahavis (Málaga) which has required a major deployment of Infoca and military units.
Several urbanizaciones as well as the urban centre of Benahavis had to be evacuated as fire crews fought throughout the night to contain the fire. Three fire fighters have also been treated for injuries.
High temperatures and a hot wind blowing from the interior around 40kph have hindered efforts to stop the fire advancing.
By eight o’clock the Plan de Emergencias por Incendios Forestales level had been raised from Level One to Level Two and the military were called in (Unidad Militar de Emergencias). Such was the size of the column of smoke that 112 was receiving calls from people in Estepona and Jubrique, in the Sierra Bermeja.
In the early hours of this morning there were 233 personnel, 94 vehicles and 17 aircraft deployed, amongst them six transport helicopters, two Super Puma ones, two twin-rotor Kamovs, two ground-loading, water-bomber planes and two twin-engine amphibious water-bombers.
As at night deployed aircraft are withdrawn and grounded until daylight for safety reasons, Infoca has been using drones to provide aerial coverage of the fire.
According to the Mayor of Benahavís, José Antonio Mena, between 2,500 were 3,000 residents were evacuated as a precaution. Furthermore, around 50 horses from the Benahavís racecourse.
Editorial comment: three of the firefighters present are facing fines of 5,000 euros each for having taken part in a protest over labour conditions. Come the autumn they and most of their comrades will be laid off, as they are every year – the politicians who make these decision, however, are employed all year round and receive 14 months salary per annum.
In these time of climate change, with ever-longer and hotter summers, is it not about time that we lay aside these seasonal conceptions of fire-fighting requirements and employ infoca firefighters all year round, as we do with our municipal fire services?
(News: Pujerra, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)