SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, July 22 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The fire declared a week ago in the municipality of Puntagorda, on the island of La Palma, has been officially declared controlled today, Saturday, going to Level 1 Emergency at 12:00 p.m., as established in the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Attention for Forest Fires in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands (INFOCA).
This decision is made at the proposal of the technical director of the INFOCA Plan, after consultations and deliberations by the advisory committee and extinction management. From this moment, the Cabildo de La Palma assumes the direction of the emergency, the intervention of resources and communication to the population.
With the stabilization of the fire on Wednesday, the extinguishing tasks of the last few days have focused on the hot spots to consolidate the perimeter and avoid outbreaks, taking special care with the episode of wind registered on the islands, conditioned by the orography. Faced with this favorable situation, the withdrawal of the media displaced to La Palma began yesterday, including the UME and the Ministry’s amphibious planes, as well as firefighters from other islands.
The fire broke out at 01:05 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, in the forest-urban interface area in El Fayal, in Puntagorda, and passed severity level 2 at 07:42 that same morning. This fire started with a very wide front in an urban area and progressed rapidly, it has affected an area of 2,900 hectares, although this figure may be lower, when a measurement is made at the foot of the land, since there are still unburned areas within the perimeter. The priority of this great operation was to try to prevent the fire from exceeding the LP-1 highway and in the few points where it did, it was quickly contained.
The situation made it necessary to evacuate different areas of Puntagorda and Tijarafe and for those people who required accommodation, a total of 240, four shelters located in the municipalities of Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte were set up where they stayed overnight, space was also set up for animals. In addition, another 49 people were rehoused in residences for the elderly in Santa Cruz de La Palma.
The operation deployed since this fire was declared has come to have more than 500 ground troops per day belonging to the Environment of the Cabildo de La Palma, ERIF of the Government of the Canary Islands, BRIF of La Palma and Tineo (Asturas), personnel from the National Park, Military Emergency Unit, Emergency and Rescue Group of the Government of the Canary Islands (GES), Firefighters of La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, Emergency Service s Canario (SUC), Red Cross, General Corps of the Canary Islands Police, Civil Guard and Local Police of all the municipalities of the island, Civil Protection volunteers and the Emergency and Security Coordination Center of the Government of the Canary Islands (1-1-2 Canarias).
Likewise, up to eleven aerial means have participated in this fire (eight helicopters, two amphibious planes and one cargo plane on land) that have intervened as a carousel, which until yesterday had made 1,526 downloads, in which more than 2.6 million liters of water have been used.
SOME 60 BUILDINGS AFFECTED
Some 60 buildings, including 22 homes (13 in Puntagorda and 9 in Tijarafe) according to the first assessment of the municipalities, show damage from the fire, although the situation is still being evaluated by both municipalities with the technical assistance of firefighters. In this sense, the Government of the Canary Islands has already approved the decree of aid for real estate and belongings, which will be channeled through the Cabildo, and has made a request for funds from the State Government.
The Minister of Territorial Policy, Territorial Cohesion and Water, Manuel Miranda, responsible for Emergencies, wanted to convey the Government’s gratitude to all the devices deployed on the island, both for extinction, security, logistics and psychology, which, together with the staff of the town halls and the Cabildo and the Emergency and Security Coordination Center CECOES 1-1-2, have made it possible to protect people and declare the fire under control today.