The heat and the strong wind complicate the extinction of the fire in Sierra Bermeja
Firefighting agents work to extinguish the fire in Sierra Bermeja (Málaga), this Monday, in an Infoca image.
Firefighting agents work to extinguish the fire in Sierra Bermeja (Málaga), this Monday, in an Infoca image.INFOCA

A lot of wind, high temperatures and low humidity in the environment. Everything that could go wrong in terms of the weather situation in the fight against the fire in Sierra Bermeja (Málaga) has gone wrong. The fire started on Wednesday. On Friday, after working tirelessly for 48 hours, he was considered stabilized. But from there to having it controlled, that is, that there is no danger that the flames exceed the perimeter guarded by the firefighters, it has been complicated since then. “The weather conditions continue to be unfavorable for extinguishing the fire,” said this morning Alejandro Molina, coordinator of the work to end a nightmare that has already devastated more than 3,500 hectares between the municipalities of Pujerra and Benahavís, leaving three professionals wounded and forced the eviction of almost 3,000 people who have already returned to their homes.

The flames began last Wednesday at 3:04 p.m. on the La Resinera farm, with some 6,500 hectares, populated mostly by resin pine and some areas of chestnut trees. More than a thousand people came to join forces the next day, Thursday, to fight a fire that dragged the ghost of the one that occurred in the same area the previous year and that, uncontrolled, burned almost 10,000 hectares and ended life of a firefighter. The rapid response – the forest firefighters were joined by members of the Military Emergency Unit, just eight hours after the first warning of smoke to the 112 emergency telephone number – demonstrated its effectiveness and on Friday the fire was considered controlled. Then the military withdrew and the members of the Infoca (Andalusian Fire Plan) continued their work to extinguish the fire.

The technique used to attack the fire, that of technical fire, consisting of spreading flames in a controlled manner so that they meet the original fire, ensuring the perimeters and the extension that is charred to avoid risk, facilitated success. However, if last year the rain came at the last minute in support of the firefighters, this time the weather has not done its part. To the intense heat -with maximum temperatures above 33 degrees- and the strong gusts of wind -of more than 40 kilometers per hour- a “very low” relative humidity of just 25% has been added, according to Molina, which makes it difficult a lot of field work. The example of Saturday is clear: the active points and the smoke zones were reproduced as the day went by, forcing more than 200 specialists, nine vehicles and up to 20 aerial means to work piecemeal.

This Monday, by mid-afternoon, there were no longer any flames or smoke, but the more than a hundred people who were still in the area were busy cooling off the hottest spots. Especially in the eastern area, visible from the A-397 road that connects Ronda with Marbella, where the forest mass is greater. The Forest Fire Extinction Service of Andalusia (Infoca) assures that around 80% of the perimeter is already consolidated, but that the fire is not yet controlled. However, they are optimistic that this can be achieved soon.

The most seriously injured firefighter from burns has already been discharged from the Virgen del Rocío hospital in Seville, where he had been admitted since last week. Another of the injured is recovering at home and the third, intoxicated by smoke, has returned to his job.

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