Firefighters on high alert across the island after a wave of forest fires that broke out in various locations in Majorca on Friday have been able to step down for now. The largest fire in Petra and others were officially declared to be Level 0 earlier today (Sunday), but winds forecast for later in the week, allied to the extremely dry conditions, keep the island on close watch.
One of the fires started near Son Moix in Palma and led to some 20 homes being evacuated while a total of 50 people battled the flames. According to the National Police, a 44-year-old was seen throwing a flare intro some scrubland in the area. He was arrested today and remains in custody.
The worst of Friday fires was in Petra. The alarm was raised at 13.00 and the alert was soon stepped up to level one as the strong winds fanned the flames. By 17.00 fire crews on the ground and four helicopters in the air had managed to reduce the alert to zero but the blaze continued to rage.
At the same time, other crews were having to battle a forest fire in Manacor while the fire in Sant Agustin was declared extinguished at 16.50 having destroyed just under one hectare of pine forest. But no sooner had the alert been cancelled in Sant Agustin than another fire was reported in Son Servera. That was eventually extinguished by 20.50 having caused minor damage to scrub land.
However, firefighters remained at the scenes of the fires in Manacor and Petra over night as the blazes were being kept alive by the wind. The Manacor fire was eventually declared extinguished today at 14.00 having destroyed 8.2 hectares of pine forest and agricultural land. The fire in the Son Doblons area on Petra was finally brought under control at 12.45 and by mid afternoon was extinguished. It had devastated 45 hectares of scrub land.
While firefighters were allowed to take a break today and review their equipment, the authorities said that the Balearics remains on high alert for forest fires. The wind which has picked up over the past few days is of great concern and the public is being urged to be extra careful and extra vigilant and report anything suspicious to the 112 emergency centre.
The firefighting helicopters and water-dumping planes are fuelled and ready to respond immediately, as are fire brigades across the island and the Ibanat forestry commission.
Meanwhile, King Felipe has sent his condolences from Majorca to the family of the ranger who was killed in the massive forest fire which is still raging on the Canary island of La Palma. An estimated 3,000 hectares of ancient woodland have been destroyed and over 2,500 people evacuated from their homes.
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