500 evacuated as high winds fan forest fire

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Max Malin

UPDATED – THE fire that broke out on Sunday in Competa is under control and the evacuees from Las Colmenillas have started to go back to their homes, said Andalusia’s Emergency Service.

 

Infoca – a service put in place by the Junta de Andalusia to combat forest fires – reduced the alert level from 1 to 0 after the fire in Axarquia had been brought under control.

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Around 500 people from las Colmenillas and Cruz del Monte had been evacuated as high winds fanned a blaze that destroyed 100 hectares of forest land and threatened homes near the Andalucian town of Competa on Sunday.

 


The alert was raised at 1pm in the area of Llano de Alberto. The winds combined with high temperatures to make the fire rapidly spread towards homes in las Colmenillas.

 

The majority of homes evacuated were holiday homes, with the holidaymakers taken to the Balcón de Cómpeta hotel while the blaze was fought.


 

The critical point of the fire was reached at around 4.30 pm when the flames reached urbanisation Cruz del Monte and came perilously close to three houses.

 

In total 18 firefighting aircraft – including two amphibious aircraft of the Ministry of the Environment and two helicopters – and 200 members of the emergency services on the ground – divided in 16 different groups – were drafted in to fight the fire and try to protect property. There were also five reinforcement brigades (Brica), nine fire engines, a meteorology and transmissions unit, a fire analysis unit and medical personnel.

 

By 6pm the flames were under control with firefighters remaining on the scene in case the high winds fanned the fire back to life. In fact, one of their main concerns was keeping the flames from fully spreading to the Sierras Tejeda Natural Park and Almijara.

 

The causes of the fire are still unknown and five homes were reportedly destroyed by the flames in Cruz del Monte. The fire is also said to have destroyed the electrical system of the municipality’s sports complex.

This was the worst fire to break out in the municipality in the last 40 years

 

 

MORE than 500 people were evacuated as high winds fanned a blaze that destroyed 100 hectares of forest land and threatened homes near the Andalucian town of Competa today.

The alert was raised at 1pm in the area of Llano de Alberto. The winds combined with high temperatures to make the fire rapidly spread towards homes in las Colmenillas.

The majority of homes evacuated were holiday homes, with the holidaymakers taken to the Balcón de Cómpeta hotel while the blaze was fought.

The critical point of the fire was reached at around 4.30 pm when the flames reached urbanisation Cruz del Monte and came perilously close to three houses.

In total 17 firefighting aircraft and 56 members of the emergency services on the ground were drafted in to fight the fire and try to protect property.

By 6pm the flames were under control with firefighters remaining on the scene in case the high winds fanned the fire back to life, and people were starting to return to their homes.

At the time of writing there were no reports of injuries or damage to houses.

 

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