Palma.—Yesterday evening, fire fighters were battling blazes on four fresh fronts with another spate of fires for the second consecutive day in Son Caliu, Calvia, causing major concern as flames spread close to houses in some areas.

And, elsewhere, fires were raging in Arta, Alaro and Santa Eugenia. These were all pretty much under control, according to the Ibanat forestry commission, but the worst fire was raging near Son Gual in Costes den Xorrigo, leading to the closure of the Manacor road.

Yesterday, Ibanat reported that as many as 70 hectares of wood land scrubland was destroyed by the spate of forest fires which broke out in and around Son Caliu on Monday afternoon, the Ibanat Balearic forestry commission told the Minister for the Environment, Biel Company, who visited the scene in Calvia yesterday.

The fire which destroyed a hectare of pine forest near Costa d'en Blanes was brought under control early on Monday evening, but as many as three other fires continued to smoulder through the night and fire fighters spent most of yesterday extinguishing the blazes on the ground and from the air.

Environment Minister Biel Company spoke to fire fighters and senior officials from Ibanat and some of the local residents who, for precautionary measures, were evacuated from their properties briefly on Monday afternoon as the fires spread dangerously close to residential areas in Costa d'en Blanes.

Company said that the dozen residents were allowed home on Monday night after the rapid intervention of the fire fighters.
The Costa d'en Blanes blaze was under control and out within a matter of hours.
Company backed up what eyewitnesses told the Bulletin that the prime target on Monday was to tackle the Costa d'en Blanes fire because of its close proximity to homes in the area and the strategy worked.

But, due to the difficult terrain, much of the work had to be carried out from the air. By the end of Monday at least five helicopters and planes were attacking the blazes from the air while a total of 70 fire men and women had been involved in tackling the blaze on the ground throughout the afternoon.

During the night, a total of 25 fire fighters from two brigades continued to fight the flames with the aircraft and helicopters unable to fly at night for safety reasons.

The Minister yesterday praised the fire fighters, Civil protection, Ibanat, the Guardia Civil and the Local Police for their efforts and ordered that Seprona, the Guardia Civil's nature protection unit, opens a full investigation into the spate of fires which almost broke out simultaneously in the same area.

Costa d'en Blanes was the scene of a massive blaze last year which damaged some houses and led to the mass evacuation of some parts of the residential development. Scores of local residents also paid tribute to the fire and emergency services yesterday.

Company stressed that this summer could be a potential time bomb for forest fires because of the extremely dry Autumn and Spring and urged people to be extra careful and extra vigilant.

He said that should any body spot someone acting suspiciously, then they must contact the police because an ever increasing number of fires are being started deliberately.


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