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    Default 14 firefighters killed in forest blaze in Spain

    14 firefighters killed in forest blaze in Spain


    www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-18 04:30:49

    MADRID, July 17 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 14 firefighters were killed Sunday while trying to extinguish a forest blaze in drought-stricken Spain, according to local reports.

    The fourteen had gone out in two groups to try to bring the fire under control, local media reported.

    The fire began Saturday afternoon in the Cueva de los Casares natural park. It was still raging out of control late Sunday. Police said sparks from a barbecue that had not been fully extinguished had caused the fire.

    The blaze had so far charred an estimated 12,000 acres of pinewood land. Enditem


    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2...ent_3231616.htm


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    By Adrian Croft
    SANTA MARIA DEL ESPINO, Spain, July 18 (Reuters) - Forensic
    teams started identifying on Monday the blackened corpses of 11
    firefighters who died in a forest fire in Spain while police
    interviewed a group who admitted to starting the giant blaze.
    The bodies of the young men and women were found on the
    stripped, ash-covered terrain beside the charred chassis of
    their four-by-four vehicles. A sudden change in the wind
    direction on Sunday had encircled their vehicles with flames.
    But firefighters, working by air and land, had extinguished
    much of the fire by Monday, leaving just one front blazing.
    The direction of the wind made officials optimistic about
    bringing the blaze under control, a spokeswoman for the regional
    environment department said.
    More than 250 people battled the blaze which officials said
    was sparked by an illegal barbecue in a nature reserve full of
    pine trees and brush in the Guadalajara area east of Madrid.
    It destroyed an area about 10,000 hectares, officials said.
    Five of the dead were taken to a funeral parlour while
    forensic scientists continued to work on the others, Deputy
    Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said.
    In Santa Maria del Espino, a group of men were slumped
    outside a bar exhausted from fighting the flames which almost
    reached the outskirts of their village. They complained about a
    lack of resources.
    "Help arrived when people were already dead," said one of
    them, who preferred not to give his name.
    "They died 200 metres (yards) from where we were," he said,
    his smoke-reddened eyes brimming with tears.

    WORST DROUGHT
    A group of people told police they were responsible for
    lighting the fire in an area which has become a tinder box after
    Spain's worst drought since the 1940s.
    "We know that they are making a statement to the police and
    we know that they have recognised that they in fact started the
    fire," Jose Maria Barreda, regional president of Castille-La
    Mancha, told state radio.
    Provoking a fatal fire can be punished with a jail term of
    up to 20 years, Fernandez de la Vega told reporters after an
    emergency ministerial meeting.
    The government announced a series of measures after locals
    booed Fernandez de la Vega when she arrived on Sunday.
    "The measures taken by the government ... have been poor
    because we have been left unprotected and forgotten," said
    Esther Ibanez, a 49-year-old housewife from Santa Maria del
    Espino, who was evacuated to a nearby village.
    Fernandez de la Vega said she understood the criticism,
    adding an investigation into the fire would also look at the
    government's response.
    "The investigation will also have to determine whether there
    was a delay or not," she told the news conference.
    The government says Spain has around 20,000 forest fires a
    year, 90 percent started by people. In Zamora province, also in
    central Spain, a fire that consumed 1,200 hectares was brought
    under control on Sunday.
    Drought and high temperatures have also raised the risk of
    fires in neighbouring countries.
    North Africa is suffering a drought and heatwave and more
    than a quarter of Algeria's 48 provinces have been ravaged by
    forest fires this month.
    In central France, three volunteer firefighters were killed
    on Sunday night when a wall collapsed on them as they tackled a
    blaze in a barn used to store hay in Metz-le-Comte.
    (Additional reporting by Raquel Castillo)

    SAELICES DE LA SAL, Spain (AP) - Rescue teams on Monday
    recovered the bodies of 11 firefighters who died while trying to
    extinguish a forest blaze in central Spain - the deadliest in five
    years - believed to have been sparked by a barbecue, authorities
    said.
    The firefighters, who died Sunday battling the blaze in the
    central province of Guadalajara east of Madrid, have not been
    identified. Their bodies were flown to the city of Guadalajara, a
    spokesman for the regional government of Castilla la Mancha said
    Monday.
    Police said a barbecue that had not been fully extinguished
    sparked the fire Saturday in a nature reserve. The fire - one of
    the biggest in Spain this summer and the deadliest in years - has
    charred an estimated 8,000 hectares (19,770 acres) of pine
    woodland, Environment Minister Cristina Narbona said.
    Police in Guadalajara quizzed a group of people who are believed
    to have been responsible for the barbecue but so far had made no
    arrests.
    The dead firefighters, aged between 24 and 52, were found at the
    top of a hill. Some were on the ground, others in the four vehicles
    that were also burned.
    Miguel Tamayo, 45, a resident of nearby Riba de Saelices, drove
    up to the hill to see the fire damage and met the sole survivor of
    the group of firefighters.
    "When I found the chap, all his arms were burned," said
    Tamayo. "I asked him were the more people and he said 'they're all
    dead."'
    Jose Maria Barreda, president of the regional government, said
    the fire was raging on one front Monday, pushed by blustery winds
    and temperatures of up to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Army troops
    joined firefighters in fighting the flames, and officials confirmed
    that France was sending equipment, including two water-dropping
    planes.
    "The fire has destroyed everything, and will continue to do so
    until it's under control," said Jose Luis Samper, mayor of Riba de
    Saelices.
    Some 400 residents from four villages in the area were
    evacuated, although many returned to their homes Sunday.
    "We saw it coming, us older folk," said retiree Andres Garcia
    Serrano of Albanque. "When there were 600 people living in the
    village, the pine grove was looked after ... but now nobody looks
    after it. We haven't seen anything like this before."
    Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega was to
    hold an emergency meeting Monday with the defense, agriculture and
    development, and environment ministers. De la Vega, who visited the
    charred area late Sunday, was booed by some 150 inhabitants who
    complained about the delay and the lack of resources in battling
    the blaze.
    Elsewhere in Spain, six people suffered light burns, and more
    than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of woodland were destroyed in the
    northwestern province of Zamora over the weekend.
    In the northeastern province of Zaragoza, several hundred people
    were evacuated from a residential area and a campsite late Saturday
    after fire broke out in the Monasterio de Piedra parkland. The
    blaze was brought under control early Sunday.
    Spain also is suffering from its worst drought since officials
    began keeping records in the late 1940s. Fueled by high
    temperatures and dry conditions, fires destroy large stretches of
    woodland in Spain and neighboring Portugal each year in the summer.


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Default

    ...locals booed Fernandez de la Vega when she arrived on Sunday.
    Can't see that happening in North America.

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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Default More details emerge

    Spaniard tells of escape from "giant wave" of fire
    MADRID, July 19 (Reuters) - A Spanish firefighter who saw 11
    colleagues die battling a forest fire told on Tuesday how they
    were overtaken by a "giant wave" of flame heading straight
    towards them at furious speed.
    Jesus Abad, the only survivor of 12 firefighters trapped on
    Sunday in a remote area of Guadalajara province, 150 km (90
    miles) east of Madrid, escaped with burned arms and broken ribs
    by sheltering under a water truck that had water pouring out of
    it, his wife told the newspaper El Pais.
    In his own first account, Abad told Spanish television: "The
    hurricane of fire was very big. I think it saw us and said
    'You're mine'. Because it came from a very long way off.
    "The next time we turned our heads, the flames were leaping
    out at us and we got in the vehicles to get away ... but it
    didn't give us time and it caught us. As if it were a giant
    wave, but of fire."
    Blinded by smoke, Abad said he had driven into a gully. He
    jumped out of the window and crawled under a water truck that
    was standing on the road.
    After the fire passed he saw that his companions had all
    burned to death. Abad was rescued by a helicopter and is now
    recovering in hospital.
    "You have no oxygen, you see yourself burning, you see
    yourself ... dead," he said. "The will to live saved me, because
    I think we all have courage."
    The fire scorched up to 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of
    forest and brush. By Tuesday, it was contained and close to
    being brought under control thanks to an 80-metre (yard) wide
    fire break, eight times wider than usual, officials said.
    Police were questioning a group of day-trippers who told
    them they had lit a barbecue on Saturday in the area, which had
    been turned into a tinder box by Spain's worst drought since the
    1940s.
    Causing a fatal fire can be punished in Spain with up to 20
    years in jail.
    The government says Spain has around 20,000 forest fires a
    year, 90 percent of them started by people.




    REUTERS
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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post

    Spain to declare disaster zone in fire-hit area
    MADRID, July 24 (Reuters) - Spain will declare a disaster
    zone in a region ravaged by a wildfire that killed 11
    firefighters, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said
    on Sunday.
    The declaration will make the fire-blackened area in
    Guadalajara province, 150 kms (90 miles) east of Madrid,
    eligible for government aid to help it recover from one of
    Spain's worst environmental disasters.
    Zapatero made a surprise visit to the region on Sunday
    immediately after he returned from a trip to China.
    "The government will declare a disaster zone for all this
    area," Zapatero told reporters.
    The fire scorched 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) and killed
    11 firefighters last Sunday when they were trapped by a wall of
    flame.
    Zapatero said he would meet the mayors of all towns in the
    area and other regional officials on Tuesday to draw up a
    recovery plan as well as aid and economic incentives to get the
    region back on its feet.
    The fire, believed to have been sparked by a barbecue,
    quickly got out of control in an area of forest and brush that
    had been turned into a tinderbox by Spain's worst drought since
    the 1940s.
    Many local residents complained that the regional and
    central governments had failed to provide enough resources to
    fight the raging wildfire until it was too late.
    The opposition centre-right Popular Party has seized on the
    criticism, accusing the government of a tardy response and
    faulting Zapatero for going to China instead of visiting the
    region hit by the fire.
    On Sunday, a leading Popular Party official, Ana Pastor,
    criticised Zapatero for travelling to Guadalajara, calling the
    visit "clandestine and cowardly".
    The Popular Party is also calling for parliament to set up a
    committee of inquiry into the fire.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

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