Palma.—While the Guardia Civil continued to question a German resident who lives in Sa Coma Calenta under the suspicion of having started the worst fire in nearly 20 years by burning some stubble in his garden, over 275 members of fire brigades and emergency services from across the island and also members of the army's emergency unit, which was deployed to the island from Valencia on Friday afternoon, continued to fight the flames as more soldiers flew in yesterday morning and 70 more arrived last night.

Teams battled the blaze throughout the night as at least 40 people were evacuated from their homes in and around S'Arraco, Sa Trapa and Sant Elm to the sports centre in Andraitx and yesterday morning, eight air craft and seven helicopters returned to the skies to bomb the flames with tons of water.

Four of the aircraft are the giant Canadair aircraft which were scooping up tons of water from the sea off Peguera. According to the 112 emergency service, the main target was a flank of flames between Estellencs and Sant Elm which, at lunchtime yesterday was still being described as “out of control”.

The main emergency coordination centre has been set up in Andraitx Town Hall and the Balearics President, Jose Ramon Bauza, who visited the scene on Friday evening, returned to Andraitx to monitor developments at first hand and maintain communications with the Home Office and the Ministry for the Environment in Madrid in the event of the island needing more reinforcements and aid if fighting the flames which Bauza admitted yesterday morning “was not looking good.” He also said at 2pm that 1'600 hectares of land, about six-and-a-half square miles was on fire. “Hundreds of years of hard work on the land has been destroyed in a matter of minutes by negligence,” the President said as a second fire was reported in Minorca. “And for that reasons, the whole of the Balearics is on red alert until this fire is out and the heat wave passes,” he added. “The ecological impact of this fire is going to be enormous, agricultural land destroyed, livestock lost and houses gutted.” Bauza praised the efforts of all those involved in fighting the fire but he admitted that there was a sense of frustration because the situation remained “very complicated.” The road between Andraitx and Sant Elm was reopened yesterday but the roads between Estellencs and S'Arraco remained closed for most of yesterday.
Teams of psychologists were also on the scene to help calm those who had been evacuated and others, including farmers, who were worried about losing their homes and their livelihoods as the fire and the panic continued to rage through the west of the island. See over