“There is no truce, there are no weaknesses!” The Andalusian Forest Fire Extinction Service (Infoca) continues to fight the flames that have swept through the Sierra Bermeja area of Malaga since 9:37 pm last Wednesday. To this forest fire “unusual in our country”, according to the authorities, a new front has been added on this Sunday.
Sierra Bermeja burns shortly after its inclusion in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park was requested
The director of Extinction and deputy director of the Regional Operational Center (COR) of the Infoca Plan, Alejandro García explained that “some pavesas (incandescent material) have generated a new fire in Sierra Bermeja” that, despite being independent, has ended up joining the original. “We are talking about a power and an unusual force for the fires that we are used to seeing in our country,” Garcia stressed. According to official data, the fire has burned more than 6,000 hectares.
More than 2,500 people evicted
The virulence of the fire has caused the Infoca Plan’s Operational Directorate to order the preventive evacuation of the municipalities of Faraján, Pujerra, Alpandeire and Júzcar. To these are added the evictions of Jubrique and Genalguacil ordered early this Sunday, September 12. In total, more than 2,500 people have been evacuated from their homes.
The people who are in these towns today are being transferred to the “El Fuerte” Sports Center in Ronda, as reported by the Andalusian Emergency 112 service. Various local volunteer groups for Civil Protection as well as the Red Cross are supporting an operation that includes the deployment of 400 beds and the same number of hygiene and anticovid kits, as well as supplies for the sheltered. In total, there will be 1,300 beds and kits available to Genalguacil, Jubrique, Faraján and Pujerra.
Currently, 745 specialists work on the Sierra Bermeja fire. It should be remembered that the forest fire extinguishing device of the Infoca Plan maintains 350 personnel deployed, including ground personnel, 20 firefighting vehicles, three Bulldozzers, a Mobile Meteorology and Transmissions Unit (UMMT), the Unit for Analysis and Monitoring of Forest Fires (UNASIF), ten operations technicians, three extinguishing technicians.
With the ortho, the air resources returned, 41 during the day, including heavy and semi-light helicopters, cargo planes on the ground and coordination. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has contributed two BRIFs made up of 43 extinction professionals and 16 air resources, and there are also four Zapatones planes from Castilla La Mancha.
In addition, this Sunday morning, the central government has activated the Military Emergency Unit (UME) to intervene in the forest fire after the request made by the Junta de Andalucía. This endows the operation with 128 more troops who are carrying out the work of protection of the evacuated populations.
Since the fire was declared level 2 last Thursday, Infoca could request extraordinary resources from the State and other autonomous communities. However, it was not until today that this activation was made effective. “All the resources of the Infoca Plan were more than sufficient, even with the relays and with the new fire, due to the fireworks, that support from the UME is advisable,” the COR deputy director clarified.
The UME thus joins the FAST teams, specialists from other autonomous communities who have been asked for radiosonde equipment and a team of specialists in the use of heavy machinery. To all of them we must add 18 specialists from Emergencies 112 Andalusia (112, Emergency Group of Andalusia -GREA- and Civil Protection). Civil Guard agents, the Malaga Provincial Firefighters Consortium, Mijas and Marbella Firefighters, the National Police Unit attached to the Community and the National Police Corps also work in the area.
The health operation directed by the Public Health Emergencies Company (EPES) is made up of a mobile ICU and a Logistics Support Vehicle (VAL), with a doctor, a nurse and two Health Emergency technicians (TES).
The Andalusian Health Service, for its part, maintains another mobile ICU at the Command Post with a doctor, a nurse and a Health Emergencies technician (TES); while for evictions it has deployed up to four units, one of them for collective transfer and the rest are conventional transfer units, two of which have been equipped with a doctor, nurse and technician.
Two doctors and three nurses have been mobilized to care for the sheltered people, making up a team of 20 health professionals. In total, there are more than 700 professionals deployed in Sierra Bermeja.