Forest fires 2014

Update 23 October: It’s been a cool year, some say because it’s an El Niño year, but whatever the reason, we’ve had very little in terms of forest fires this year. And now the Tenerife Cabildo has confirmed it officially: Tenerife has had 122 alarms, in 35 of which Brifor (forestry brigade) has needed to be activated, and 3 hectares burnt – the lowest numbers in the last 40 years – since 1970, when records began to be kept, to be precise

This year’s results were presented today by Tenerife president Carlos Alonso and Environment councillor Ana Lupe Mora. As they said, the good year was due to the efforts of Brifor in clearing away combustible material, and to volunteer efforts coordinated by Brifor, but meteorological conditions clearly played the largest part, with just one serious heatwave throughout the summer months.

Update 3 September: It took until last night, but at 11pm the La Gomera cabildo was able to announce that the Alojera fire had been pronounced “extinguished” by Cecopin, the Centro de Coordination Operativa Insular.

Update 1 September: The La Gomera cabildo has said this morning that the fire is under control as of 8am and work continues to extinguish it fully. These works are expected to last the whole day in the Lomo del Balo and the head of the Barranco del Mono areas, with four squads with fire engines, three extinction technicians, two environment agents, and one national park official. Those residents who were evacuated have now been allowed to return to their homes.

La Gomera president asimiro Curbelo Curbelo said that yesterday’s work was hard, and he thanked the efforts made by all the teams – official, fire fighting, national park, and local social and radio volunteers. This morning will be spent, he said, evaluating the situation to determine how best to proceed throughout the forthcoming hours. The Canarian government helicopter which helped firefighting efforts last evening will remain in the island’s airport in case it should be needed again today. The authorities hope that they will be able to pronounce the fire extinguished by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Update 31 August: It’s two years since the last major fire on La Gomera (link), and hopefully this will be nothing like as bad, but the island is burning again tonight. A fire started around 6.30 in the Alojera area of Vallehermoso, and although through this evening it was thought to be under control, the island and fire-fighting authorities say that the situation has become “more difficult” as air support has been withdrawn as darkness fell and the wind direction has changed down towards inhabited areas. The areas of El Lomo, El Lomo del Balo and El Mono, are being evacuated for security reasons. Hopefully there’ll be better news in the morning, but for tonight, here are the images of this evening’s air firefighting effort and the fire after dark:


Original post 6 August: Last year’s forest fires post (link) was a very short one, thank god! Hopefully this 2014 one will be too, though the official fire risk level has leapt this week with talk of a heatwave over the next week or so. Nothing firm is forecast, but next week temperatures could rise significantly if meteorologists’ early indications turn out as anticipated.

There have been a few minor “conatos” (outbreaks) so far this year, all being got under control and extinguished in very short order. We have a fire plane now too, as promised, stationed in La Gomera until the end of October, and the government has issued its “protection measures for forest fires” advice – see HERE.

What fires there have been so far have the stamp of carelessness or arson about them, and this morning is no exception. For the second time in a month, there is a fire in the same area of the Güímar valley, and bomberos are currently working near the Los Monjes recreational area to get it under control. 

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