UPDATE: Small bonfire could have started forest fire in Valencia’s Montitxelvo region

Image of a firefighter at the Montitxelvo forest fire.

Image of a firefighter at the Montitxelvo forest fire. Credit: X@BombersValencia

UPDATE: Sunday, November 12 at 6:59 pm

THE Guardia Civil has indicated that the forest fire that devastated some 2,500 hectares of mountains and crop fields in twelve municipalities in the Vall d’Albaida and Safor regions could have been started by a small bonfire.

Seprona investigators reportedly found the remains of a fire consisting of four or five small logs located about 30 metres from the Montitxelvo municipal sports centre. This spot is only a few meters from a ravine and the fields of olive and mandarin trees that surround the town.

After interviewing residents, one of the hypotheses being considered by the police is that the bonfire could have been lit by a farmer or seasonal workers on the morning of November 2, according to lasprovincias.es.


UPDATE: Sunday, November 5 at 6:51 pm

SOME 75 hours after it started, the forest fire that has been burning in the municipality of Montitxelvo since Thursday 2 looks like it has finally been brought under control this Sunday 5.

As a result of a night with favourable weather conditions, and no notable incidents, those who had been evacuated from the Ermita de Ador, and Monte Corona, also in Ador, along with residents of La Corona, in Villalonga, were allowed to return to their homes this afternoon.

A drop in the wind allowed aerial resources to fight the flames from above. Combined with a push by the heavy machinery and 300 personnel operating on the ground, this led to the spread of the blaze quickly being halted.

Could the blaze reignite?

According to 112, there were no active fronts along the perimeter of the fire. However, there were some hot spots that the firefighters would continue to monitor in case of any reignition. At around 5 pm, military personnel from the UME were stood down and started to withdraw.

Pilar Bernabé, the Government delegate in the Community, refused to be drawn when asked whether she believed the blaze could have been started intentionally.

Speaking from the Advanced Command Post (PMA) this morning, she said: ‘On the causes, and I say this today with total caution, at the moment it is considered that the human factor was a determining factor in the beginning’.

‘All the lines that the human factor entails will be investigated, but neither one, nor the other especially. I ask everyone to be cautious when talking about issues that, furthermore, are beyond everyone’s knowledge and to let the Guardia Civil work, as they have a lot of experience and are great professionals’, Bernabé concluded.

However, statements made on Saturday afternoon by Carlos Mazón, the president of the Generalitat, suggested a different train of thought.

Visiting the command post to check on the evolution of the fire, he commented: ‘The investigation does not rule out a provoked cause. Of course, if this is the case, it’s not an amateur or a lout, it’s someone who knows about fire, or a person who knows about this. I would not be calm because we are going to go after them’, as reported by lasprovincias.es.


UPDATE: Saturday, November 4 at 3:40 pm

IN the latest update at 11:30 am this Saturday 4, from the Advanced Command Post (PMA), it was announced that conditions were: ‘not as adverse as yesterday’.

‘The weather conditions tonight have played in our favour more than the forecasts indicated, since the relative humidity has not been so low and the winds have reached lower intensity values’, they highlighted.

Around 2,600 hectares have now been destroyed by the fire that broke out in the municipality of Montitxelvo last Thursday 2. Despite the better conditions, the blaze is still reported to be out of control and now has a front of approximately 40 km.

Two firefighters have been injured while fighting the flames. One suffered an eye injury and was treated at the field hospital of the Advanced Command Post, while another received cuts to his hand and face.

How many personnel are tackling the blaze?

Around 300 personnel are currently battling the fire, including firefighters, forestry brigades of the Valencia Consortium and the Generalitat. Another 125 soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit (UME) are also involved.

The Department of the Environment of the Region of Murcia has also provided 26 forestry brigades, 4 environmental agents, 2 technicians and a driver.

Pilar Bernabé, the Government delegate in the Valencian Community confirmed that several witness statements had been taken. An investigation is underway that could determine whether the blaze was started intentionally or not she added.

There was no comment on this particular topic from Elisa Núñez, the Minister of Justice and Interior. All efforts are now concentrated on extinguishing the fire the official explained, pointing out that: ‘the investigation procedures will be implemented as and when the time comes’.

Thanks to a slight improvement in weather conditions, five aerial resources joined the fight against the fire.

Confinement has already been lifted in the municipalities of Potries and the Font d’en Carròs. Meanwhile, the population of Ador are still being told to remain indoors, according to laprovincias.es.


In this regard, , Elisa Núñez, did not want to comment. She has stated that now all efforts are focused on extinguishing the fire and that “the investigation mechanisms will be developed as the time is right.”

UPDATE: Friday, November 3 at 5:05 pm

AS reported by the Emergency Coordination Centre of the Generalitat, the forest fire in the Valencian town of Montitxelvo has already devoured around 2,000 hectares of land.

The strong winds died down this morning, Friday 3, but then regained their strength as the day developed, according to AEMET, the State Meteorological Agency.

Residents of Font d’En Carrós joined those already evacuated, while the townsfolk of Potries were confined to their homes due to the smoke.

Gusts of wind between 60 and 70 km/h led the Guardia Civil to cut the CV-680 that connects Real de Gandia and Villalonga, between Km 4,800 and Km 8,200. The CV-685 was also cut between Km 2,500 and Km 4,800, as reported by 20minutos.es.

Classes were suspended for the day in the six municipalities of Ador, Villalonga, Terrateig, Palma de Gandia, Potries, and La Font d’en Carròs.

UME personnel have joined the extinction battle, and took part in the overnight operation.


UPDATE: Thursday, November 2 at 8:59 pm

AT 7:27 pm this evening, the Advanced Command Post monitoring the spread of the forest fire in the Terrateig region announced the evacuation of more residents.

The rapid spread of the flames has caused the authorities to request residents of the municipality of Castellonet de la Conquesta and the villages of Ador, Ermita d’Ador and Monte Corona to leave their homes as a precautionary measure.

Alicante Fire Brigade is on alert because the flames are nearing the border of the province. They reported that they are monitoring the advance of the fire towards l’Orxa, an Alicante municipality adjacent to Terrateig.

As a result, the fire stations of Dénia and La Montaña in Cocentaina-Alcoy have been placed on alert in the event of the flames entering the province, according to lasprovincias.es.

The Valencian Fire Brigade reported dealing with more than 20 vegetation and forest fires today. 


Thursday, November 2 at 7:41 pm

DUE to their close proximity to the flames of a huge forest fire, several hundred residents of Terrateig in the province of Valencia have been evacuated.

This precautionary measure was taken by the authorities this Thursday, November 2, after the blaze started to spread out of control, fed by the high winds.

The fire started at around 4:30 pm in Terrateig’s Font ravine located between this municipal area and Montitxelvo. A first front of flames is already reported to have reached the municipality’s sports facilities.

Silvia Ferrer, the town’s mayor, subsequently announced that residents should leave their homes to safety. He explained that they should only take essential belongings and that those without anywhere to go could head to the nearby town of Benicolet where the Council had prepared a space to house them.

A total of six fire crews was deployed to tackle the incident, along with seven Consortium BRIFO forestry brigades, four Consortium command units (including an officer, forestry technician, forestry coordinator and sector head), as well as seven Generalitat forestry units.

Despite igniting in the municipality of Montitxelvo, such was the strength of the winds in the region that the flames quickly spread to the neighbouring municipality. Unless there is a change in wind direction then the former location should be safe from the fire.

As a result of the blaze, access to the CV-60 has been cut. People have reported observing the smoke and even the huge flames from in other municipalities in the region.

According to the Alicante Fire Brigade, the flames have already spread to the province of Alicante. The smoke and smell of burning can be noticed even on the coast, in the Marina Alta region. The Generalitat has asked the government to mobilise the UME to assist with the extinction efforts.

Iván Martínez, the mayor of Benicolet, put his facilities at the disposal of the mayor of Terrateig. As a result, they have prepared space at the Cultural centre, the Casa del Salvador multipurpose centre and the upper floor of the Town Hall to welcome the residents of Terrateig.

Gusts of wind said to be approaching 100 km/h are complicating the extinction battle because they are preventing the deployment of aerial resources said the authorities, as reported by lasprovincias.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com