84 evacuated in Alicante forest fire with smoke reaching Benidorm

900 hectares have been destroyed Credit: Twitter

REINFORCEMENTS have been brought in from across Spain to fight a forest fire that has destroyed nearly 900 hectares of woodland and forced the evacuation of 84 people in Alicante. 
The first big blaze of the summer in the Valencian Community broke out yesterday in the municipality of Beneixama. 
Firefighters worked through the night to control the blaze that started in a ravine at about 2 pm yesterday (July 15). Strong winds fanned the flames so rapidly that nearly 900 hectares were burned in just a few hours and residents of the La Solana area had to be evacuated for their own safety. 
At the moment 15 aircraft fromthe Generalitat Valenciana regional government, nine from the central government and two from the government of Castilla La Mancha have been called in. 
The fire is now visible from neighbouring municipalities such as Banyeres de Mariola and Bocairent, and the flames are about 10 kilometres from the Serra de Mariola natural park. 
Yesterday, 17 aircraft tackled the fire until night fell. Grou personnel then carried on the work until the morning. 
At nightfall 10 teams of firefighters from the Diputacion de Alicante, 27 units of forest firefighters from the Generalitat and Alicante, four forest brigades from the Diputacion de Valencia, five environmental agents and a coordinator were involved.  
Reinforcement from the Ministry of Agriculture, based in Cuenca and the Brigade of Reinforcement of Forest Fires of Zaragoza were called in. Then 64 military personnel and 26 vehicles from the Military Emergency Unit (UME) joined the extinction work. 
The smoke rose 4.5 kilometres in the air causing some flights to divert, and spread as far as Benidorm and the coastline of the Marina Baixa. 
A cause for the fire had not been established yet. 

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Dilip Kuner

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