Fire in the Empordà: 350 people evacuated in Castell d'Aro
Firefighters are optimistic and hope to stabilise the fire at dusk, which has already burned 50 hectares
BarcelonaFirefighters are working to extinguish a fire in Castell d'Aro (Baix Empordà) that has already affected between 50 and 55 hectares of vegetation and has the potential to burn up to 250 hectares. The fire broke out this Friday at 12.40 at the bottom of a ravine and up to 75 crews (60 ground and 15 air), have moved to try to contain the flames' advance. The fire started in the area of Can Manel, at the bottom of a ravine, and the wind helped it spread rapidly towards an area surrounded by scattered housing developments, farmhouses and a golf course. Civil Protection has evacuated around 350 people because of the smoke.
The leader of the Fire Service's intervention, Francesc Boya, explained that it is a "very active" fire: while the right flank is already under control, the left still requires work and continues to cause secondary outbreaks. According to Boya, this is causing "operational stress" because, although the priority is to stop its main advance, they have to work on the fire as a whole. In addition, he recalled that this year is expected to be a tough one for forest fires and that all fires have very fast starts and require many resources and crews to control it. However, he was optimistic that by the afternoon it could be brought under control.
Forest Rangers are investigating the causes of the fire and, for the moment, one of the preliminary hypotheses they are working with is that it started while cleaning tasks were being carried out in the forest.
Civil Protection has evacuated the housing estate Les Teules de Santa Cristina d'Aro due to the proximity of smoke and has locked down Can Manel in Castell d'Aro. No one was injured. The director of Girona's Territorial Services of Girona, Jordi Martinoy, explained that the firefighting tasks have an added difficulty which is precisely the proximity to buildings, second homes and hotels. "It is an area with a lot of vehicles and people, we ask people to stay away," he said. Fifteen people were evacuated from Les Teules and are being housed in the sports hall of Santa Cristina d'Aro and about fifty more have taken refuge in Castell d'Aro's multipurpose municipal hall of Castell d'Aro.
The fire in l'Empordà comes at the gates of a weekend in which there is again danger of fire, at least until Tuesday, in the regions of Bages, Noguera, Solsonès, Segarra and Urgell, but also the areas of l'Empordà, Catalunya Central, Vallès and Terres de l'Ebre, among others. The Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya forecasts that the wind will blow from the south, the temperature will be higher than usual and the relative humidity will be low. For that reason, it continues recommending minimising risks and making harvesting safer by stopping between two and five o'clock in the afternoon. In addition, people are asked not to use the firecrackers left over from Sant Joan festival and recall it is forbidden to use them close to vegetated areas.