Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MALLORCA TODAY - Discarded barbecue coals caused Andratx fire

Officers from the Guardia Civil's Seprona (nature protection) unit have concluded that the origin of the devastating fire that swept across southerly parts of the Tramuntana mountains from Friday was coals from a barbecue. The man - Samuel G.H. - originally suspected of starting the fire (wrongly attributed to the burning of stubble) has been accused along with three other men, one of whom, Samuel's brother, Ignacio, is now considered to have been primarily responsible for the fire. The coals were either dumped accidentally or because it was thought they were out in a mountain setting in the Son Curt area of Andratx. Ignacio has been arrested and held in custody, awaiting an appearance before a judge in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the fire has been contained, emergency services confident of it being fully stabilised today, though they warn that there could be flare-ups if there are sudden changes in wind direction. Extinguishing the fire completely is likely to take a few days yet. Provisional estimates of the scale of the devastation have reduced the area affected from the plus 2,000 hectares that had been spoken of to around 1,800 hectares, which would make this the second worst fire that Mallorca has experienced (the worst, 1,960 hectares, was in 1992 in the Artà mountains). There have been no casualties, though, in addition to a member of the UME military emergency unit who was taken to hospital suffering from dehydration, a dozen other members of fire crews have needed treatment for smoke inhalation or also for dehydration.

Update: Ignacio made an appearance before a judge today. The prosecution had called for him to be detained without bail, but the judge has allowed him to remain at liberty though he is charged with negligence in having caused a forest fire. The accused, who declared that he was extremely sorry for what he had done, is said to be suffering from a depressive illness. The judge, who ordered that his passport be withdrawn and that he should report to police weekly, did not consider him to be a flight risk, hence why he was not placed in custody.

Update: The area affected by the fire is now being out at 2,330 hectares, which makes it the largest fire on record in Mallorca.

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