From Navalacruz to Sierra Bermeja: large fires shoot up 25% in 2021

An image of the Navalacruz fire.

An image of the Navalacruz fire.

So far this year the Civil Guard has detained or investigated more than 300 people for crimes of forest fires, increasingly dangerous. This year alone, large fires have increased 25 percent and a third of the burned area was started by a vehicle.

This was the origin of the most serious fire of 2021, that of Navalacruz, in Ávila, which destroyed more than 22,000 hectares last August. A damaged car began to burn on the shoulder of a road and soon the flames spread to the mountains.

The high temperatures, the lack of humidity and the strong gusts of changing winds favored the expansion and made it difficult to extinguish a fire whose investigation has been judicially shelved this week, since neither the driver of the damaged vehicle nor the participants could be charged. in extinction work.

The number of fires decreases but their virulence grows

A little over a month before the end of 2021 the Civil Guard takes stock this Saturday of its actions against forest fires. They highlight that, although the number of fires has decreased compared to the average of the last decade, those that are produced are more dangerous and take away more hectares, some 85,000 calcined this year.

What does not change is the triggering factor for the fire, since in most forest fires - close to 80% - human hands are behind, either by the work of an arsonist, by negligence in the use of a fire or by a imprudence.

Among the most common causes are bonfires, agricultural burns or poor power lines.

But this year in 35 fires considered large, those of more than 500 hectares burned, the beginning was a vehicle either due to a breakdown, accident or poor combustion that triggered a fire, which happened not only in the Navalacruz fire, but also also in Villarrasa, in Huelva, with 870 hectares burned in July.

The Civil Guard detained two people. The origin was a truck with a lack of maintenance.

Other relevant fires: Sierra Bermeja, Valldemossa and San Roque

In addition to these fires, the one that affected Sierra Bermeja, in Malaga, declared on September 8 and which was considered extinguished a month and a half later, stands out. It burned almost 10,000 hectares of three protected natural spaces and caused the death of a firefighter.

More than a thousand people had to be evacuated, while the investigation indicates that it could have been intentional, although there have been no arrests.

An image of the Sierra Bermeja forest fire. EFE

The Civil Guard did arrest a person responsible for causing the fire in a natural area of ​​San Roque (Cádiz) to distract the security forces while a group of drug traffickers introduced drugs from the African coast into a lacha.

A "modus operandi" that investigators had detected on other occasions in the same area, for which the detainee was charged with eight crimes of forest fire.

The alleged perpetrator of a fire that cost the burning of numerous hectares in the natural area of ​​the Sierra de Tramontanda in Valldemossa, in Palma de Mallorca, was also arrested. The arrested man used surgical masks to conceal the device with which he started the fire.

And for serious recklessness, a woman was arrested in mid-September as the alleged perpetrator of the fire that in July suffered an area of ​​the San Juan reservoir, in Madrid. He had set fire to a piece of paper which then caused the flames.

At the forefront of research with COPERNICUS

The Civil Guard uses the program for the investigation of forest fires COPERNICUS of the European Union, which by means of satellites and measurement systems on land, sea and air, allows agents to know the progress of the fire instantly, as well as to know the impact on the environment and clarify the responsibility.

The police and criminal investigation, as well as the demand for the responsibility of the perpetrators, responding in many cases with their own assets for the damage caused to the environment, constitute one of the most effective measures for its prevention, since it generates a dissuasive effect on the arsonist and the negligent conduct of the rest of the citizens.

More than 100,000 services have been provided by the Armed Institute this year for the prevention, research, training and dissemination of forest fires.


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