The forest fire declared last Wednesday in Sierra Bermeja continues active and has forced this Sunday to evict some 1,600 people from six Malaga municipalities (Jubrique, Genalguacil, Faraján, Pujerra, Alpandeire and Júzcar) in a day that was complicated at dawn by the paveseo, that is, the incandescent material from the first fire that caused a new front in Jubrique.
Thus, the total of evacuees by this “unprecedented” fire, with a perimeter of 85 kilometers and which has already burned 7,400 hectares, has risen to 2,670 people during the day, but a thousand from Estepona and Benahavís can now return to their homes, under surveillance of the firefighters of the Malaga Provincial Consortium. The bulk of the evacuees in the rest of the localities are in Ronda and also in municipalities such as Algatocín, Cortes de la Frontera or Benarrabá.
In Jubrique there have been 320 people evicted, 300 from the main nucleus -this Sunday- that are added to those already evacuated days ago from Charco Azul (16) and La Monarda (4). In the case of Genalguacil, 250 people have been evicted from the main nucleus, 261 from Faraján, 263 from Alpandeire, 214 from Júzcar and 308 from Pujerra.
All the evictions have taken place in advance and with the maximum security measures, in accordance with the Contingency Plan designed and, according to the Junta de Andalucía, the mayors of these six towns had been pre-alerted and have been informed at all times of the minute. within a minute of the operation.
The deputy director of the Regional Operational Center (COR) of Infoca, Alejandro García, reported during the morning from the Advanced Command Post, in Estepona, of the changes that occurred during the night and in the early hours of the day, regretting that despite the good work done during the early morning the pavesa was a “sudden circumstance: it is something possible but not foreseeable and it has generated a new fire”.
In his statements, García alluded to the “unusual power and strength” of this fire compared to those “that we are used to seeing in our country.” In fact, due to the irruption of the pavesa and the generation of a new fire in Jubrique, the activation of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) was requested, which has been working on the ground since noon and has 260 troops from the II Battalion. of Intervention in Emergencies.
On the night of this Sunday, the director of the COR of Infoca, Juan Sánchez, has assured that it is the “most complex fire that the forest fire extinguishing services have known in recent times”. He also regretted that weather predictions “have continually failed something that is key to us: the speed and direction of the wind.”
Sánchez has admitted that being next to the Strait causes more complex forecasts, so the arrival of the FAST team of specialists will allow “fine tuning”. In this sense, if these current predictions are fulfilled, the works during tonight are expected to be more favorable although there is “a Plan B or C because so far the forecasts what they have done is play a trick on us.”
He reiterated that it is a “very complex” fire and that “operations have been carried out with total diligence”, again regretting the death of an Infoca firefighter last Thursday: “For me it is an unforgivable issue that we will have to study very deeply. ”
The FAST teams were also activated during the day, specialists from other communities who have been asked for radiosonde equipment and one from specialists in the use of heavy machinery, which in this fire is very limited due to the steep orography of the terrain. Everything to fine-tune the intervention as much as possible.
This Sunday, the number of specialists who have worked on the fire has exceeded 745, of which Infoca has 400 deployed who have continued to work piecemeal on the front line by land and air to fight a fire that has been devastating this part for four days of the province of Malaga.
Likewise, the MA-8302 road at kilometer 15 in Genalguacil and the MA-8301 is cut from kilometer 3.5 in Estepona to kilometer 32 in Jubrique. Also the MA-7306 from kilometer 0 in Parauta to 5 in Cartajima, the MA-7307 in Alpandeire, between kilometers 0 and 8, the MA-8304 from kilometer or 5 in Genalguacil and the MA-8305 from km 0 in Algatocín to 12 in Jubrique.
SUPPORT FROM ALL SPAIN
The Minister of the Presidency, Public Administration and Interior, Elías Bendodo, reiterated on Sunday night the complexity of the fire and highlighted the unprecedented support that “many autonomous communities” have given Andalusia. “Practically the presidents of all the communities have called the president of the Junta, Juanma Moreno, as did the president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez,” he stressed, listing the troops from other regions that will continue to arrive to combat the calls.
“All of Spain is turning upside down with this unprecedented fire that Sierra Bermeja is suffering,” added the counselor, who thanked the professionals who are giving “the best of themselves”; as well as the head of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Sustainable Development, Carmen Crespo, who highlighted the coordination between the administrations: “It is being exemplary.”
But the desolation has also been felt throughout the day on Sunday. The mayors of two of the affected municipalities, Miguel Ángel Herrera (Genalguacil) and Alberto Benítez (Jubrique) have transferred that sadness and helplessness. “It is an environmental, natural, emotional and human catastrophe,” said Herrera, who had been calling for the activation of the UME for days and warning “of the arrival of fire” in his town.
For Benítez, the situation is “quite serious, the fire was 300 meters from the town”, adding that thanks to the fact that a firebreak has been made, “it seems that the progress towards the municipality has stopped, at least for the moment.” .
In Ronda, meanwhile, an extensive device has been set up in the San Francisco neighborhood sports center to receive displaced residents from the six municipalities of the Genal Valley who were evicted during the day. They are offered water, food and shelter given the circumstances of some people who have had to abandon their homes due to the intensity of the fire.
The users of the Faraján nursing home have subsequently been transferred to nursing homes in Ronda and to the Hospital de la Serranía. In addition to the sports center in the San Francisco neighborhood, other municipal facilities have also been set up to accommodate the displaced, such as the El Fuerte sports center, the Civic Center in the San Francisco neighborhood, with capacity for 1,200 people.
In this sense, the Malaga Provincial Council has contacted the users of home help and the elderly evicted by the fire for any eventuality or need, recalling the availability of the telephone against loneliness (900 923 092).
Solidarity has also been felt throughout the day, just like days ago. At the Estepona Conference Center, where it is located in the Advanced Command Post, donations of food, water and even labor to make sandwiches that are then offered to the troops continue to arrive.
The same thing happened in Ronda; many residents have come to the sports center to collaborate and even offer their homes to accommodate the evacuees, some of whom have chosen to go to the homes of relatives or friends. Drawings of children thanking the fight against the fire in Sierra Bermeja have also been received at the WFP.