Forest Fire in Valle Perdido Murcia

fire fighters fighting blaze in Murcia

Heroes battle fierce blaze to save Valle Perdido's biodiversity in Murcia Image: X/@LopezMirasF

IN the early hours of Tuesday morning August 29, a forest fire ignited near Valle Perdido in Murcia, Spain, sparking a rapid response from emergency services and fire crews. The flames, which erupted near the popular Veterans Trail, posed a significant threat to the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity. More than a hundred troops, including firefighters, environmental agents, and law enforcement officers, were swiftly mobilised to contain and extinguish the fire. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, the fire was stabilised, and a potential disaster was averted.

Fire Breakout and Emergency Response

The fire began shortly after midnight, raising alarm among local residents and visitors alike. The emergency services received over 300 calls reporting the fire, prompting a coordinated response. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but the region’s dry conditions after months without rain and the summer’s intense heat likely contributed to its rapid spread.

A comprehensive response team was assembled, including firefighters from the CEIS (Firefighters Consortium of the Region of Murcia), forestry brigades, environmental agents, and local and national police officers. An advanced command post was established to coordinate the firefighting efforts effectively. By promptly deploying resources to the areas most affected by the fire’s growth, the team managed to prevent the fire from escalating during the night.

Containment and Extinguishing Efforts

As the sun rose, the firefighting efforts were intensified with the addition of two helicopters equipped with Heli transported brigades. The total number of personnel involved in the operation surpassed 100, demonstrating the gravity of the situation. The troops strategically surrounded the entire perimeter of the fire, aiming to prevent any resurgence or further spread of the flames.

Reduced wind speeds supported the firefighting efforts and contributed to the containment of the blaze. By focusing on stabilising the fire’s perimeter and creating defensive lines, the teams worked tirelessly to gain the upper hand over the fire.

Protecting Valuable Biodiversity

The area affected by the fire, including the El Valle y Carrascoy regional park, is of significant ecological importance. Designated as a Site of Community Interest (SCI) within the Natura 2000 Network, the park is also part of the Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) due to the presence of various bird species, including eagle owls, Bonelli’s eagles, and golden eagles.

From a botanical standpoint, the region boasts an impressive biodiversity, with around 600 different species of higher plants. Some of these species, such as the rock ear and the giant orchid, are both unique and visually striking. The fire’s threat to this delicate ecosystem highlighted the urgency of the firefighting efforts to ensure the preservation of the park’s natural beauty and ecological balance.

Community Gratitude and Future Vigilance

The president of the Murcia Community, Fernando López Miras, expressed his gratitude for the swift and effective actions of the firefighting teams. He emphasised that their rapid response had prevented what could have been a ‘major disaster’ for the forested area. While the immediate threat of the fire has been mitigated, the importance of continued vigilance, preparedness, and fire prevention measures remains paramount, especially in regions prone to dry conditions and heatwaves.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!


    • Concha

      29 August 2023 • 14:10

      A heroic effort to save an incredibly important, and beautiful place – ¡Bravo!¡Bravo!
      However, to state “months without rain” is completely inaccurate and misleading, in fact that May was an extremely wet month, with 23 days of rain, actually causes more scrub and weeds to grow, leading to an even greater risk of wildfires during the summer months. June, was also an unusually wet month, with at least 21 days when some rain fell! The wine producers of the ‘altiplano de murcia’ were delighted with the unexpected rains in July, as was reported on Onda Cero radio, stating that, although the harvest will probably be 2 weeks later than usual, they are expecting a bumper crop; providing no hail falls before they can gather the fruit. Winter was very dry, but the end of spring and summer rains have been greater than expected, which conversely, leads to a higher risk of wildfires.

      • John Smith

        01 September 2023 • 12:49

        Concha, the writer has made the following observation with regards to your comment – I got the information from 112 but technically it’s not incorrect as it hasn’t rained in July or August. The problem is sometimes people that live in the interior of Murcia think it rains the same amount all over Murcia when in fact they could have a very heavy storm with hail and all we get are high winds like on Saturday. Or they can have very heavy rain but all we get in this area is a few spots of rain like at the end of June. It won’t rain in the area that the fire took place unlike in the altiplano de murcia

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