Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spain: strong winds, fires, and 14,000 evacuated

Winds in Spain and southern France downed power lines which started at least three large fires. Over 14,000 people evacuated in front of the fires, which were pushed by winds gusting at 60 to 120 mph. More than 500 firefighters are working on the fires, aided by 170 soldiers. Their Canadair "super scooper" air tankers are grounded by the winds.

Several people were killed by falling trees, and a 78-year old man was killed by flying debris outside his home. Four children were killed when the wind collapsed the roof and a wall of a sports complex near Barcelona. Millions of homes are without power.

From Reuters:
The toll for the Landes forest, one of Europe's largest which provides a living for thousands of small and large timber companies, was dramatic.

Footage filmed from helicopters and broadcast on France 2 state television showed vast areas where there were more trees lying on the ground than standing. Experts estimated that 50 percent or more of the trees had fallen.
The narration in this video about the fires is in Spanish, but you'll get the idea.


Anonymous said...

Hello everybody:
I am José Luis, and I really appreciate that you posted this video, mainly since I am working in Texas as a teacher now but I am a wildfire-fighter in Spain and those images made me feel nostalgic about summer time. Let me tell you that something is starting to change in Spain, because those fires were very strange in winter, and now they are starting to grow more common, more than expected. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Jose Luis,

As a teacher turned wildland firefighter, you should research the past fires of Spain. In doing so, you'll find that similar fires have happened in the past under similar weather conditions throughout the SW of Europe... especially in the areas with Mediterranean fuel types.

Post a Comment