Everything indicates that the origin was intentional and affected four communities
VILLABUENAS DE GATA (CACERES), 11 August (EUROPA PRESS) –
The fire declared yesterday afternoon in the Sierra de Gata, in the municipality of Santibáñez el Alto (Cáceres), is contained, but residents evacuated from the town of Torre de don Miguel cannot return to their homes for the time being.
The fire has affected a large mass of forest, mainly pines, in relation to the above municipalities as well as Gata and Villasbuenas de Gata, although the number of hectares affected is unknown, as there are many intermediate areas within the perimeter that have not been burned, as indicated by the regional coordinator of the Infoex plan, Víctor Pérez.
Pérez has indicated that the fire, which broke out around 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday, spread “very quickly” and “with great intensity”, characterized by the country’s orography and the wind. “Numerous lines of control” were set up throughout the afternoon as fires jumped 100 and 200 meters, so Infoex members’ work focused on “containing” the fire.
As for the origin of the fire, “almost all parameters point to a presumptive intentional cause” as it follows the pattern of other fires reported in the same region last week and in previous years.
“We have set up lines of control on highways, firebreaks and some with hose lines and heavy machine crossings, and now we will try to consolidate these lines of control,” Pérez explained at a press conference he offered this Thursday together with the Director of Emergencies, Civil Protection and General Interior of the Junta de Extremadura, Nieves Villar, at the Advanced Command Post in Villasbuenas de Gata.
After the meeting of the Extremadura (Platercaex) Civil Protection Plan, the Infoex regional coordinator trusted that with the air means activated and the rest of the equipment, the fire could be “contained” and, at the end of the day, “stabilize” it, although it will depend on the expected high temperatures.
“We’re going to be on the lookout with air means to make quick downloads and send troops to solve those jumps,” said Pérez, who stressed that “the fire has great potential” because it’s affecting even more of the Gata community and can move further into the province of Salamanca, “although at the moment it is contained”.
“IT COULD BE THE BIGGEST FIRE OF THE SEASON”
For her part, Director-General for Emergencies, Civil Protection and Home Affairs Nieves Villar stressed that the fire spread “very quickly” and “with great intensity”, “it could have been the big fire of the season”. not acting in time.
“We are optimistic about the assessment and work of all fire services yesterday,” said Villar, who explained that a “very quick” evacuation of Torre de Don Miguel had to be carried out, but that action in other communities was not to be expected, although an evacuation strategy has been developed should this become necessary.
Currently, from the residents of Torre de Don Miguel, 109 people are scattered in the Moraleja Sports Center, 40 elderly people in the Zarza de Granadilla residence, 20 in the Coria Hospital and others who have not received the services of the Junta de Extremadura and are receiving psychosocial care.
Regarding whether more rooms are prepared for possible evacuations, Villar has indicated that there is still space in the Moraleja pavilion and the agricultural vocational school could also accommodate evacuees. “Everything is organized”, stressed the Director of Emergencies, who however stressed that “the Municipality of Torre de Don Miguel will remain closed today”.
“We have to be extremely careful because at the moment they cannot go into their homes until the unified leadership authorizes it,” he condemned.
EIGHT AIR MEDIA WORK
As for the aircraft working towards extinction, it should be remembered that this morning eight helicopters will be made available by the Junta de Extremadura and the central government, and it is expected that two seaplanes can be installed, which will work in a coordinated and staggered manner.
A total of 150 soldiers, nine trucks, nine checkpoints, three conservationists, three coordinators and four bulldozers worked throughout the night, with the additional support of the Brif, the UME and the Sepei.
The members of the Extremadura (Platercaex) Disaster Response Plan will meet again at 20:00 to assess the development of the fire once the central hours of the day have passed and the relative humidity and temperatures can be analyzed to determine if it has been possible to consolidate the perimeter of the fire.
“Then we will make decisions,” said Infoex plan regional coordinator Víctor Pérez, who has concluded that the most important thing is that it is not reactivated for “containment, control and surveillance.”