News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week November 21st to November 27th 2002
FIRES RAGE ACROSS ANDALUCIA
High temperatures and drought conditions lead to a high risk autumn
By David Eade and Dave Jamieson
FIRES CAUSED HAVOC ALONG THE COSTA LAST WEEKEND WITH BLAZES IN MIJAS, LOS MONTES DE MÁLAGA, THE AREAS OF OLÍAS AND CAMPANILLAS, OJÉN AND GRANADA, WHERE A 28-YEAR-OLD MAN LOST HIS LIFE.
The first fire broke out on Friday in the Sierra de Mijas. The blaze affected 20 hectares of woodland, 10 hectares of scrubland and also urban areas. Fifty people had to abandon their homes in La Batana and 70 people in Buenavista and another 300 in Osunillas were put on standby.
Four fire fighting planes and two helicopters fought the blaze along with nine fire engines and support units from all the emergency services. One fireman, a policeman and a number of residents from the area were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.
HOMES THREATENED IN RINCÓN
Another blaze, which broke out around 12.30 on Saturday, threatened homes around Rincón de la Victoria. Firefighters believe the blaze to have been started by two workers on the Olías to Málaga road, both of whom have been detained. Fire crews, police officers and Civil Protection operatives fought the outbreak which spread rapidly in strong winds, with the smoke and smell evident across Málaga City. Three more outbreaks were detected in surrounding areas, and numerous families were evacuated along with a number of holidaymakers camping nearby. A group of around 100 children and adolescents, aged between 7 and 21, were moved to a safe point from a cortijo, which the flames reached just half an hour after they left. The wind gradually pushed the fire to the edge of Rincón, close to the new commercial centre, forcing a 90 minute closure of the N-340 coast road.
On Sunday evening a new fire was discovered in an area of pine forest in the Sierra de Ojén. Fire crews from the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz raced to the scene. Although the blaze was wiped up by a strong north easterly wind the prompt response by the emergency sources enabled them to gain control of the blaze.
MAN DIES IN GRANADA BLAZE
In the Sierra de Bodijar, Granada, a fire which began at 10.15 on Saturday claimed the life of one man, and destroyed many hectares of forest and agricultural land. The 28-year-old man was burned to death in the massive blaze, when he attempted to rescue his father who had become trapped by the flames. Over 2,700 hectares were razed as more than 100 firefighters, two of whom were injured, worked through darkness in an attempt to control the outbreak which continued into Monday.
The authorities have attributed the outbreaks to carelessness in the very warm and dry conditions, which means that November continues to be classed as a month of high risk.
FIRST AUTUMN RAINS BRING CITY CHAOS
Málaga comes to a halt in rush hour deluge
By Dave Jamieson
REPORTS FROM THE CITY OF MÁLAGA REVEAL IT WAS BROUGHT TO A HALT AS A LATE SUMMER GAVE WAY TO THE FIRST TORRENTIAL RAIN FOR MONTHS.
From 0.9.30, rain poured down over the whole region, dumping 50 litres of water per square metre on the capital in just 40 minutes and up to 87 litres elsewhere on the coast. The emergency services received dozens of calls from across the city, with overflows and basements flooding. Industrial estates were particularly badly hit as drainage systems failed to cope, leaving premises flooded and vehicles under water. Public transport was interrupted as roads subsided in the city centre and a wall collapsed, making workers up to two hours late arriving in their offices. At one stage, the autovía was at a standstill along 17 kilometres, from the Santa Bárbara industrial estate near the airport and east to Rincón de la Victoria, while scores of minor accidents were reported on all roads.
Three Britons, two brothers and their guide, who had been surprised and disoriented by rain and snow the previous night, were found safe and well in the Sierra Tejada.
13 years ago, on November 14, 1989, the city was left in chaos as
rainfall reached a staggering 130 litres per square metre.
Experts predict long and slow process in Granada
The Granada countryside destroyed in a major fire almost two weeks ago will take up to 40 years to fully recover. Ecological experts who have been studying the devastation caused in the Sierra de Bodíjar, which has a high botanical value and many protected animal species, say that to return the area to the state it enjoyed before November 9 will take around four decades. Subtropical cultivation could take 15 years to recover.
of níspero plantations, some 30 years old, were destroyed
between Jete and Itrabo, an area concentrated on the Rio Verde where
the outbreak began, which exported two and half million kilos of
the fruit to the EU last season.
A professor of botany at Granada University said the biggest threat now was erosion and loss of the landscape, while the regional environmental councillor, Fuensanta Coves, announced a forest restructuring of the affected area.
As well as destroying 2,728 hectares of countryside and many livelihoods, the fire claimed one life. A 28-year-old man died when his vehicle overturned and caught fire as he drove to rescue his father from the blaze. A farmer, held responsible for the disaster after his attempts to burn waste without authorisation went out of control, was arrested.
THEATRE FOR NERJA PLAZAS AND PARK
wants to bring theatre into the streets for the town's citizens.
The Town Hall has asked the department of culture at the Junta de
Andalucía for a grant of 31,000 euros to finance the project
to develop and promote theatrical activities in the municipality's
squares and parks. The idea came after councillors noted that while
the auditorium of the Cultural Centre is usually full for musical
events it is often sparsely populated for theatre presentations.
The local culture department is studying a possible programme of
events, starting in January, with sites including the Balcón
de Europa, the Plaza Fábrica de los Cangrejos and the Parque
Verano Azul under consideration. The object is to create an awareness
of theatre in the town with small-scale presentations which can
create a big impact.
CHRIS STEWART AT CHARITY FASHION SHOW
fashion parade in Nerja this Sunday, November 24, will be raising
money for CUDECA. The annual show of clothes for sale from the charity's
Nerja shop will again be hosted by Sunshine Radio's Dave Jamieson,
with the author of 'Driving Over Lemons', Chris Stewart, signing
copies of his new book, Parrot in a Pepper Tree, during the interval.
The fun begins at the Villa Flamenca Hotel in Nueva Nerja at 16.00.
AFTER THE FLOOD
firemen pump floodwater away from an impassable road in La Perla.
Following the recent heavy rainstorms which caused sporadic flooding along the whole of the Costa del Sol, Malaga's Emergency Coordination Centre has revealed that, although the high winds and rain persisted over several days, damage in the province has been relatively light.