“Sad and desolate”. This is how the 150 residents of the town of Casas de Miravete in Cáceres, in the Monfragüe Nature Reserve (Cáceres), feel after the fire scorched more than 3,200 hectares of their land. It is difficult to recover from the disaster, but they are not giving up. “We have no other choice,” says the resigned Samuel Mayoral, 38, who with agility serves cold beers to neighbors who this Tuesday visited what they call “the lungs of the people”: the city’s pool bar, where helicopters fly the collected water a few days ago to try to smother the flames of the fire. After four days at the Almaraz sports center, they returned home. 24 hours have passed. And they have already set to work to try to recover from the tragedy, the ashes of which remain.

With a yellow cloth, which she first dips in a bucket of water, María Teresa Ibarra, 53, lifts the glasses of the guests arranged at the table to remove the black dust. “Look! And that I cleaned it this morning,” scolds the employee. Ibarra moves from here to there in the kitchen. The skewer bowls you prepared a week ago have gone bad. While he’s cutting the potatoes for a Peeling lettuce, he points out the rotten carrots that he also has to throw away.The Madrilenian, who has lived here since childhood, gets goosebumps when she recalls the moment when the mountain started to burn: “I’m with mine Clothes gone. I really wanted to cry and watched helplessly as my whole life was shattered. Although he has already gotten back into his bed, the night has become eternal. “I’m leaving groggy‘ she comments nervously, after spending more than an hour hosing down the ash-covered walls of her patio, hardly having slept.

María Teresa Ibarra, a resident of Casas de Miravete (Cáceres), works in the kitchen of the village pool. DAVID EXHIBITION

With the same excitement Gemma Suárez, 45 years old, appears, who does not take long to shout her misfortune from the rooftops: “Everything is charred!” The neighbor returned to her home Monday to find an orchard devastated by flames. No sign of tomatoes or lettuce. Not even from the pear and olive trees that his grandfather planted. He has a lot of work ahead of him. “Now to clean and replace. At least the mare is saved,” he says sadly. Another concern haunted him while he was in the pavilion with the other evacuees. He left his two dogs at home: “I was afraid they would burn me, but there was nothing I could do.”

The entrance to the city has been sealed for four days. The Civil Guard warned them that the fine would be 30,000 euros if anyone stayed inside. It used to be done differently. José Naharro, 52, explains it nostalgically: “The townspeople are the ones who know the paths through these mountains well. The bells used to ring and if you didn’t go out to put out the fire they denounced you.” After tossing a cigarette, he gets up from his chair. There’s no time to waste. The neighbor who’s with Wearing a hat and a dirt-smeared waistcoat, he climbs onto a loading machine to move the straw shadows that destroyed the helicopter’s propellers during the firefighting effort.

Francisco García and José Naharro, residents of Miravete, are working to reopen the municipal swimming pool after the Monfragüe fire in Cáceres.
Francisco García and José Naharro, residents of Miravete, are working to reopen the municipal swimming pool after the Monfragüe fire in Cáceres.

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“We are patchwork. Don’t rush us,” he tells his partner. Francisco García, 52, asks her for help unloading a freezer from a van coming out of the fire department’s headquarters. Garcia laments that the fire has devastated the family legacy. “These Lands could have been inherited by my children,” she laments, trying to hold back tears.

The municipal dehesa boyal, where the town’s neighborhood fed the cattle, was completely burned down. The ash between the fingernails of deputy mayor José Antonio Solís shows that this is not enough: “We ran out of grass. The farms with livestock farms will take a long time to be able to resume activity”.

Despite the fact that the fire in Monfragüe is under control, the Infoex forest fire brigades (Service for Prevention and Extinguishing of Forest Fires of Extremadura) continue to monitor possible propagations due to the large extent of the affected area. One of the checkpoints is approaching the terrace bar during its break. “The worst is over,” explains José María Díaz (51, Serradilla) in uniform. And he adds: “We have experienced moments of great stress and pressure.”

“How long have you been here?”

Díaz puts his hand on his chin and crosses his legs. You have to think about the answer. The lack of sleep and hard work these days are taking their toll. He forgot the time. “Guys, what day are we arriving?” he asks his companions, with whom he now guards the perimeter and sets out burning logs. “Ah yes, on Friday… It was the night of terror. But hey, we’re calmer now,” he comments while sipping on a sip of iced coffee.

Although the neighbors have already returned to their homes, the fear of the corpse does not decrease. Through the narrow and steep streets of the municipality, one speaks about nothing else. Your cell phones won’t stop ringing. On the other end of the line, family and friends call residents to find out how they are doing and how they found the city. Rebeca Calle, a native of Casas de Miravete, comments uneasily: “I woke up a thousand times tonight and was overwhelmed if there were still flames.” The 36-year-old neighbor explains her discomfort: “We live on cattle here, tell me, what do we do now?”

For the time being, children and young people come to the municipal swimming pool to try their luck. You’re trying to figure out when the city will come back to life. You’re dying to take a dip and eat an ice cream among the leaves, now burned by the flames, which surround the only water barrier the neighbors have to withstand the heat.

“Is it open yet?”

-Nope. You must come to clean the ashes that are in the ground.

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Source elpais.com

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