The fight against the forest fires on the peninsula this Monday is entrusted to the weather conditions in search of a break. Thirteen towns in Navarre remain riddled with fires and eight roads of the secondary network are closed to ease the fires in the foral municipality. Although the situation remains worrying in many places, the Navarre government has seen an improvement as the weather changes. The climate also helped extinguish the flames of the Sierra de la Culebra Natural Reserve, whose perimeter is stabilized and covers an area of 30,800 hectares. Today it is raining. “Although there is no flame, work continues,” sources from the Environment Ministry of the Junta de Castilla y León say of the biggest environmental disaster in the history of Castilla y León.
In Navarre, the fall in temperature and the wind shift to a northerly component have given firefighters a breather. The most worrying fire comes from Legarda, the southern focus of the Sierra del Perdón, a few kilometers from Pamplona, and the second most complicated is the Sierra de Ujue fire, specifically in Gallipenzo. In addition, there are two other assets in Iracheta (Olleta) and Guesálaz (second flank of the Legarda fire); and three already stabilized outbreaks in Los Arcos (Fire of Arróniz), Los Abetos (Arguedas) and Ezkaba (Berriozar). A total of about 700 people live in the 13 evacuated towns. It is expected that residents of Ujué and San Martin de Unx will be able to return to their homes later in the day.
In Zamora, the favorable conditions have repeated for the second night in a row and this means that the fire, although active, has stabilized and is flameless, sources from the extinguishing process say. Numerous media continue to operate, both from the Junta de Castilla y León and from the Ministry of the Environment, the Military Emergency Unit and the Autonomous Communities of Madrid, Cantabria and Galicia, to refresh the area and avoid reproductions.
According to estimates from late Sunday afternoon based on images from the extinguishing coordination helicopter, the fire destroyed a total of 30,799.3 hectares, almost half of which was forested area, with a circumference of 120.88 kilometers. The fire, provoked last Wednesday afternoon by the flash of a dry storm with several simultaneous eruptions, forced the evacuation of more than 1,250 people from twenty cities, who were relocated to gymnasiums far from the fire where they were staying until the danger went over. During the extinguishing work, a worker at a machine checkpoint was injured with burns on his hands.
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The Sierra de la Culebra is an environmental enclave that is part of the Meseta Ibérica Biosphere Reserve and has the largest peninsular concentration of wolves and large populations of deer and roe deer. Driven by high temperatures, low humidity and wind speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, it also spread to the Tera Valley on Saturday, forcing the disruption of two national roads and the Madrid-Galicia AVE line.
The President of the Regional Government, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, has announced a special plan for the ecological and socio-economic recovery of the area, while the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco) is sending technicians this Monday to start assessing the damage for setting up grants.
In Catalonia, on the other hand, the strong gusts of wind in the Lleida region and the simultaneity of fires have been the main elements with which firefighting specialists have been battling in Artesa de Segre, active since Wednesday, affecting about 2,700 hectares, and a new fire in Oliana, this Monday stabilized. There were more than thirty simultaneous fires on Saturday.
Work continues in Valencia to put out the forest fire in Caudiel (Castellón) that was brought under control this Sunday.