Palma.—Tributes came flooding into the Bulletin yesterday from readers either directly affected by the Costa d'en Blanes fire or from professional pilots who watched in awe as the fire fighter planes and helicopters worked throughout Thursday afternoon and yesterday morning to bring the raging fire under control.

For the second time in as many months, Vicky Metcalfe, who lives at the top of Costa d'en Blanes and was one of the 17 families evacuated, could not praise the fire fighters who tackled the blaze from the air and on the ground enough yesterday. “They were so quick at the scene and worked so hard, even through the night. “This time it jumped over to our side of the valley and reached 30 metres from our house,” she said yesterday as she looked out across a torched and blackened landscape.

Her neighbour Mr. Phillipson was equally thankful to the emergency services. “We were evacuated at about 2.30pm and finally allowed back home at 6.30pm. There were teams of fire fighters coming through the area all night and all we could do was offer them food and drink as a sign of our deep appreciation of their great work. “Many remained on the scene fighting the flames over night and spotters were still there in the morning keeping an eye on the situation. “As opposed to great clouds of smoke, they had turned to columns of steam after so much water had been dumped on the fires,” he said. “Luckily, a few years back a fire break was built round the back of our garden, but the fire came within 30 to 40 metres at one point and beyond the green line of the fire break, it's nothing but embers and burnt out trees. You can see all the goat tracks,” he added. “I guess we were lucky, if it hadn't been for the quick response by the really professional fire fighters, who knows what could have happened. It was a truly fierce blaze,” he added.

A Bendinat resident, private pilot and Bulletin reader “took her hat off” to the pilots of the fire fighter planes and helicopters yesterday. “It's extremely dangerous work flying into and over fires. The helicopter pilots can hold over pools and wells to fill their buckets but the Canadair planes have to use the wide bays to scoop up the water. It's a very complicated and life risking operation and they all do this to save our lives and our houses. “These are unsung heroes who deserve far more credit than they receive. “I know they're excellently trained but they still need to be very brave indeed to carry out this work. “I don't know what we would do without them,” she added.

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