AEMet has reduced the Orange Alert to Yellow as temperatures begin to fall slowly and the hot gales start to drop. This is desperately welcome in La Palma particularly, as the huge forest fire there is still raging out of control and has torn through residential areas and reached the National Park in Cumbre Vieja. Firefighting efforts are continuing flat out, and even the Spanish PM, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, will take a break from his Lanzarote holiday today to visit La Palma to offer support and see the situation for himself.
Meanwhile, a quarrel is smouldering over a local fiesta’s fireworks display on the evening the fire broke out. The fiesta committee is adamant that the display was legal, that it was overseen both by police and bomberos, and that it took place at least four hours before the fire alarm was raised. It seems they are acting on the principle that attack is the best form of defence, for subsequent investigations will certainly consider this as a possible cause of the outbreak.
Likelier, however, is the firing of individual (and therefore illegal) rockets which always accompany such displays, though it seems that no rocket stems have been found. Some therefore consider that deliberate arson was responsible. Perhaps it is time for a discussion about the tradition of fireworks at summer fiestas. Surely no cultural norm is too sacred even to discuss when the potential can be so disastrous?