700 people were evacuated from the town of Estellencs in the west of Mallorca as a fierce forest fire raged out of control. Firefighters from all over the island fought the blaze. The fire started 5 days ago near Andraitx and rapidly burned through the pine and oak forest above the town. Over 275 members of fire brigades and emergency services from across the island and also members of the army’s emergency unit, which was deployed to the island from Valencia on Friday afternoon, continued to fight the flames as more soldiers flew in and 70 more arrived.
The fire which started last Friday when a man was burning stubble in the zone of Es Capdellá lost control affecting 1,800 hectares, most of which was either pine forest, or low-lying woodland. Some areas inside the fire area have been left untouched.
It has since then blazed through an area of over 2,000 hectares and is the worst fire on the island since 1999. “The ecological impact of this fire is going to be enormous, agricultural land destroyed, livestock lost and houses gutted.” Bauza praised the efforts of all those involved in fighting the fire but he admitted that there was a sense of frustration because the situation remained “very complicated.” The road between Andraitx and Sant Elm was reopened yesterday but the roads between Estellencs and S’Arraco remained closed for most of yesterday.
Teams of psychologists were also on the scene to help calm those who had been evacuated and others, including farmers, who were worried about losing their homes and their livelihoods as the fire and the panic continued to rage through the west of the island.
According to security forces in Mallorca, the blaze is now under control. Temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius in the shade combined with high winds making the fire move faster and very difficult to contain. Apparently there has been virtually no rain in the area for at least two months, making conditions very dry.