The first ma­jor re­gional for­est fire of the year has wiped out over 260 hectares of Va­len­cia and Castel­lón’s Sierra Calderona

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE - By Joe Wick­man jwick­man@cb­

The first ma­jor re­gional for­est fire of the year has wiped out over 250 hectares of Va­len­cia and Castel­lón’s Sierra Calderona.

Emer­gency ser­vices of­fi­cially de­clared the for­est fire as ac­tive at 19.22 on Wed­nes­day in the vil­lage of Gá­tova (Va­len­cia prov­ince), but by 21.00, ad­verse weather con­di­tions had al­ready helped it spread into Se­gorbe (Castel­lón).

Over 300 fire­fight­ers and sol­diers, as well as 19 air­crafts, were im­me­di­ately sent to the area to limit the dam­age, but the 35-de­gree tem­per­a­tures and strong Poniente winds, cou­pled with the rough ter­rain, made mat­ters worse and the flames con­tin­ued on­ward.

For­tu­nately, the fire was con­tained within an area that does not pose a threat to any hu­man lives sev­eral hours later and now, at the time of writ­ing, although there is still con­cern that it may reach the heart of the moun­tain­ous area, it seems just a mat­ter of time un­til the fire is com­pletely ex­tin­guished and the final dam­age can be prop­erly eval­u­ated.

Emer­gency ser­vice man­ag­ing di­rec­tor José María Án­gel ex­plained that he fire broke out in ‘two dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions at the same time’, giv­ing them rea­son to be­lieve it was in­ten­tional, although noth­ing will be cer- tain un­til the dan­ger is over and the si­t­u­a­tion can be in­ves­ti­gated.

Smaller fires have also been regis­tered in the towns of l’Enova and Go- del­leta through­out this week, as well as oth­ers which af­fected aban­doned plots of land in Castel­lón city, Al­mas­sora, Villarreal, la Vall d’Uixó and l’Al- cora, and ex­perts have warned that there is still high risk of fur­ther fires in the re­gion.

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