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86 wildfires hit Catalonia simultaneously

The Catalan government has set the maximum alert level for forest fires’ risk in 30 regions, most of them in central Catalonia, due to the high temperatures registered in the last few days, which exceeded 40 degrees in some areas. On Tuesday alone, 86 wild fires hit different regions of Catalonia simultaneously. However, the most important one occurred this Tuesday in Vallbona de les Monges, a small village 40 kilometres west from the city of Lleida. In less than 5 hours, the fire burned nearly 900 hectares, most of them cereal crops. The firefighters sent 55 land resources and 3 aerial’s, which achieved to stabilise the fire by Wednesday morning. However, they continue to water the perimeter to prevent the fire from reviving.

 

 

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20 July 2016 04:04 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The heat wave which is lashing Catalonia this week has forced the Catalan Government to set the alert level for forest fires at its maximum. In particular 30 regions have been warned of high risk of wildfires and 17 municipalities have totally restricted those activities which may increase this risk. The worst episode so far was on Tueday, when 86 wild fires hit different regions of Catalonia simultaneously. However, the most important one occurred this Tuesday in Vallbona de les Monges, a small village 40 kilometres west from the city of Lleida. In less than 5 hours, the fire burned nearly 900 hectares, most of them cereal crops. The firefighters sent 55 land resources and 3 aerial’s, which achieved to stabilise the fire by Wednesday morning. However, they continue to water the perimeter to prevent the fire from reviving.


The Catalan Minister of Agriculture, Meritxell Serret, explained that, while still working to determine the cause of the fire Vallbona, research suggests that the fire originated in an area where there were some logs would have been buried for over twenty years. One end of this area was affected by another wildfire in June. According to Serret, this logs would have been burning since then but the fire was not visible until this Tuesday. “It was an unpredictable situation because it was found that this was generating coal underground”, explained Serret.

"We didn’t know that there was a latent fire” stated Serret and explained that “the 30 degrees, 30% humidity and a wind speed of 30 kilometres per hour rekindled the fire”.

The Minister thanked the work done so many professionals and volunteers and neighbours who helped to try to control the fire. Moreover, the fact that the harvest was done prevented the fire to affect a wider area.

The fire, which was started in Vallbona and has mainly affected the municipality of Nalec, Ciutadilla i Rocafort de Vallbona. Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Jordi Jane, warned that this Wednesday will be one of the most difficult days because of the weather: it is estimated that the day will be warmer and, in addition, the arrival of dry storms with lightning are also expected. Thus, Jane called for the collaboration of the whole society to avoid negligence, like throwing a cigarette badly off. In fact, this has been the cause of most fires have declared the last hours, according to the minister.

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  • A firefighter extinguishing part of the wildfire which the village of Vallbona de les Monges, this Wednesday (by ACN)

  • A firefighter extinguishing part of the wildfire which the village of Vallbona de les Monges, this Wednesday (by ACN)