A police officer surveys damage from the fire.

29-07-2013Alejandro Sepúlveda

The person who was responsible for the devastating fire in the Andratx area in July 2013 faces a possible seven and a half year prison sentence. The prosecution service is also demanding a compensation payment of 6.9 million euros. The trial will start on Tuesday.

The fire affected 2,347 hectares in the Tramuntana Mountains. It was caused by embers from pruning waste. These set light to dry leaves on the ground at a finca in the Sa Coma area of Andratx, and the resultant fires took four days to bring fully under control and extinguish. The temperature at the time was peaking at 38 degrees, and there were strong winds. There was no authorisation for any fire at the finca.

Separate fires were sparked off, and they spread across Andratx and into Estellencs and Calvia. Among the damage was 1,278 hectares of land classified as protected in the Tramuntana; 293 hectares of the La Trapa public finca were burned.

The compensation demand relates to the specific losses caused by the fire, to rehabilitation of forest land, to the costs of firefighting, repairs and cleaning-up, and to damage to aquifers. This demand comes from different sources - the Balearic government, the Council of Majorca's roads department and Andratx town hall.

The firefighting operation was unprecedented. Planes were operating all the hours that they could, and special arrangements had to be made to keep areas of sea clear so that the planes could pick up water. The army's emergencies unit was brought in from Valencia, and its members - as well as others involved in putting out the fires - were hailed as heroes.

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