Unusual heat in January triggers wildfires in the north | Spain

The unusually high temperatures in the whole of Spain during the first days of January, added to the moderate and strong winds from the south, have triggered forest fires, especially in the north of the country. A total of 93 forest fires are active this Sunday afternoon in the Principality, most of them without danger in high and rocky areas of the community, as reported to Efe by the Emergency Service of the Principality of Asturias (SEPA) . Autonomous firefighters, rural agents, brigades of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and forestry cooperatives are working with more intensity to extinguish 10 fires in seven councils. The municipalities most affected are Allende, Belmonte de Miranda, Cangas del Narcea, Piloña, Ribadesella, Salas and Sobrescobio. The Asturian community has been active since Friday in the emergency phase in situation 0 of the Civil Protection Plan for Forest Fires of the Principality of Asturias (INFOPA).

Forest fires at this time of year in the north of the peninsula are usually intentional. The arsonists take advantage of the days with higher temperatures – on January 1, winter heat records were broken throughout the Cantabrian coast – and the late afternoon hours, when the action of the forestry brigades is more complicated – to set fire to the mountain.

On New Year’s Day early at night, from Santander the flames of one of the most striking fires could be seen, that of Peña Cabarga, a mountain located on the other side of the bay. The smell of burning wood, carried by the south wind, was clearly perceived in the streets of the Cantabrian capital at the end of the day, when the temperature was an unusual 21 degrees. The Peña Cabarga fire was one of the 37 accidents caused by the arsonists on that festive day in the region, reports Europa Press. This Sunday, three of them are still active, in the Barrio de Arriba de Riotuerto, in Silió (Molledo) and in the Sierra de Caballar de Villafufre.

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The Peña Cabarga fire, one of the most worrying, has been controlled this Sunday morning. The helicopter Maya Lady it has discharged water and has given air support to the agents of the natural environment and the crews of the General Directorate of the Environment. Santander firefighters have also intervened due to the risk that the flames could reach the communications antennas that crown the rock.

The unusual heat episode that has filled the beaches during the first weekend of the year will continue, somewhat more attenuated, for the next few days. Anticyclonic, dry and stable weather will predominate on Monday in much of the country, and temperatures will continue to be higher than normal for the time of year, reaching a maximum of 20 degrees.

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However, in Galicia an increase in cloudiness is expected, with rainfall in the second half of the day. Low clouds will also be abundant in the northern plateau and areas of the southern plateau and the Ebro valley. Regarding the wind, it will be from the southwest in the northwest half of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, increasing to strong or with strong intervals in the west of the Cantabrian mountain range. Cantabria will be warned for a yellow level (risk) due to wind and Pontevedra due to waves, while in Asturias, A Coruña and Lugo warnings have been activated for both phenomena. Again, the atmospheric situation will force the extinction brigades to be alert.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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