Palma.—With the devastation caused by the Andraitx fire, the worst in the history of Majorca, earlier this month, fresh in people's minds the emergency services left nothing to chance and decided to evacuate scores of holiday homes as high winds in the north east were fuelling the fire at a rapid rate.

About 500 hectares (1'235 acres) of forest were destroyed in the blaze, which was gradually brought under control yesterday afternoon.
At 1.30pm, the Balearic Forestry Commission, Ibanat, reported that the 11 aircraft and helicopters used to fire bomb the blaze have been withdrawn from the scene and that 130 fire fighters were tackling the fire as it began to die down on the ground.

Of those, 80 were from the army's emergency brigade which arrived at first light from the barracks in Valencia on board four HU-27 Cougar helicopters.
Over night the fire spread into the municipalities of Arta and Capdepera, areas very popular for agro tourism, but it failed to reach the Llevant Natural Park as first feared on Tuesday night, although it did cause serious damage to the sa Duaia estate which is open to the public.

Worst month ever

This has been the worst month ever for forest fires in Majorca with nearly 3'000 hectares of woodland having been destroyed during a spate of fires, the worst being the Andraitx blaze which broke out on 26 July and took 18 days to extinguish.

Yesterday morning, the Balearic Minister for the Environment, Biel Company, visited the scene to oversee the operation and was joined by the Mayor of Capdepera, Rafal Fernandez who was far from happy.

Last year, an arsonist sparked a spate of fires in Capdepera and Fernandez wants action. “Over the past few years, we were hit by forest fires on the same dates,” he said.
The Mayor, who had not slept for 24 hours had spent all night at the control centre and the Guardia Civil and the Forestry Commission have opened separate investigations into the cause of the blaze.

Last year one person was arrested and prosecuted for the Canyamel fire and the Mayor hopes that, if this blaze was intentional, the police have similar success in tracking down and prosecuting the arsonist responsible.


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