Friday, August 12

More than 3,000 evicted in the Sierra de Mijas fire, which affects 1,900 hectares

The fire that started this Friday in a place in Mijas (Málaga) has already caused the eviction of more than 3,000 people, residents of urbanizations in the adjoining municipalities of Alhaurín de la Torre and Alhaurín el Grande. The last 765 were evicted at dawn, due to the proximity of the fire to the first houses of Pinos de Alhaurín. On the contrary, some 300 from the Lauro Golf urbanization have already been relocated, which, on Saturday morning, leaves the balance of evictions at 2,765. On Saturday morning the flames had affected 1,890 hectares to varying degrees.

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The firefighters are working in four sectors, in each of which they apply one strategy or another, depending on the characteristics of the terrain or the wind. “The weather forecast is not good, the relative humidity is going to be very low. We do not expect winds of great intensity, but between the rise in temperatures and the drop in relative humidity, we do not rule out that we have ignitions or reactivations of some relevance”, Alejandro Molina, deputy director of the INFOCA COP, had warned in the morning. So it has been. At noon on Saturday there was an uptick in the fire, which subsided late in the afternoon. Due to gusts of wind from the East, the western flank has been reactivated with a transition from fire to crowns and the launch of secondary fires.

19 aerial means have worked on Saturday to stabilize and control the fire. The fact that a light easterly breeze blew in the morning has allowed the aerial resources to work from early in the morning. These are crucial hours, due to the increase in temperatures and the drop in relative humidity throughout the day. Even more so, in a fire that has occurred in an area with difficult orographic conditions, where access on foot is very complicated.

The work during the day has had the difficulty of the weather conditions, which have generated a “quite virulent” spread, as Molina explained in the afternoon. These conditions have facilitated the generation of a secondary focus to the west, due to gusts of wind from the east that have reactivated the flank, moving the fire to the treetops and launching secondary sources. “Now it is calmer, and it is allowing work,” explained Carmen Crespo, Minister of the Environment, late on Saturday afternoon.

The fire, which spread at high speed on Friday afternoon, has occurred in a very steep area with a lot of combustible material, mainly scrub and pine. The dry environment, with relative humidity below 30%, facilitated this rapid spread.

Alejandro Molina, deputy director of the INFOCA COP, has ruled out for now the declaration of Level 2 of the Emergency Plan or the request for the intervention of the Military Emergency Unit. “We have a lot of people, ground crew, more than enough. It is not a fire that the more people are working, the easier we are going to put it out, ”he has said. Although later he pointed out that it would have been useful to have amphibious planes from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which have arrived at the last minute. These means were requested yesterday, according to Molina, but they have not arrived (two) until this afternoon because they were working in other parts of the national territory, devastated these days by high temperatures and a virulent wave of fires.

Bad evolution on Friday afternoon

The fire was declared on Friday at 1:25 p.m., after the emergency services received more than 200 calls since 12:30 p.m., warning of fire and smoke in Paraje El Higuerón, an area that already suffered forest fires in 2018 and 2019. From the outset, Level 1 of the Emergency Plan was activated, a category reserved for fires that can affect people or non-forest assets.

The evolution during the afternoon of Friday was poor, mainly due to the large fuel mass in the area, the difficulty in deploying ground-based means of extinction in such a steep area and the low relative humidity. The large fuel load caused the appearance of various foci, something common in this type of fire, according to Alejandro Molina, director of the Malaga COP. All this caused a very rapid advance of the flames, which by the afternoon had already affected 800 hectares.

Since noon on Friday, 3,065 people have been evicted from different housing estates in Alhaurín de la Torre (Jarapalos, Comendador Alto, Lauro Golf, Pinos de Alhaurín) and, mainly, Alhaurín el Grande (Ardalejo, Buenavista, San Jorge, La Chicharra and Doña Bale). The last ones were evicted in the middle of the night from Friday to Saturday: 765 residents of the outer zone of Pinos de Alhaurín de la Torre. The firefighters managed to contain the advance of the flames and protect this urbanization using technical fire and heavy machinery. Some 250 INFOCA personnel, plus firefighters from the Provincial Consortium and the municipalities, are working to contain the flames.

The evicted neighbors who have not been able to relocate, some 60, have been transferred to the Municipal Pavilion of Alhaurín de la Torre or the El Limón Sports Center in Alhaurín el Grande.

These are some images of the fire during the night that the INFOCA.

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