THE fire which has devastated coastal forest around Moguer, Mazagon and Matalscañas in Huelva, including a portion of Doñana National Park, is under control as a police probe into the cause gets underway.
An army of more than 200 fire fighters were able to tame the blaze after the wind and temperature dropped, and all three epicentres have now been contained although the flames have not yet been entirely extinguished.
It comes as Juan Pedro Castellano, director of Doñana announced that “the national park is now safe,” with only a small portion affected, although he confirmed that much of the natural park, a pine forest that served as a buffer to its northern edge, has disappeared.
Environmentalists are looking on the bright side, however, as Miguel Delibes, president of the Doñana Participatory Council, suggested that “this might be a good time to carry out a replantation but not only with pine,” while a biologist from the park said that “if there is a good autumn, the recovery could be spectacular.”
Much of the damaged area comprises sandy pine forest, all of which was planted by man, and emergency services said that the current situation can be considered a triumph given the panic last Sunday, when 50,000 people were trapped in Matalscañas and strong winds drove the flames relentlessly.
Among the 2,000 local residents evacuated over the weekend, around 500 remain in temporary accommodation in Moguer and nearby Almonte, while on Monday councillors announced that people were free to return to homes in the Las Casitas de Bonares, El Alcor and Poblado de San Jose neighbourhoods.
The blaze erupted at 9.30pm on Saturday night in an agricultural area of Moguer with many plastic greenhouses, and investigators suspect that it was caused by “the hand of man.”
Susana Diaz, president of Andalucia, said that detectives and forest fire specialists will work “to the limit” to solve the mystery.
Drone footage of the areas affected by the blaze.