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Thread: LODD-Spain 11 Firefighters Killed in Forest Blaze

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    LODD-Spain 11 Firefighters Killed in Forest Blaze

    Rescuers Recover Bodies of 11 Firefighters Killed in Forest Blaze in Drought-hit Spain

    Updated: 07-18-2005 08:37:24 AM

    HAROLD HECKLE
    Associated Press Writer


    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.

    She said the fire was raging on three fronts, aided by blustery winds and temperatures of up to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Army troops joined firefighters in fighting the flames, and Narbona 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.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=43366

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    Day-trippers Confess to Starting Deadly Forest Fire in Central Spain

    Day-trippers Confess to Starting Deadly Forest Fire in Central Spain



    Updated: 07-19-2005 09:30:26 AM

    ASSOCIATED PRESS



    MADRID, Spain (AP) -- A group of day-trippers confessed to starting the blaze that killed 11 firefighters in central Spain in the country's worst firefighting loss in years, an Interior Ministry official said Tuesday.

    The group of 10 told the Civil Guard that their barbecue in a nature reserve of pine woodland in the Guadalajara province east of Madrid ignited the fire, said Carmen Vallejo, spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry of the Castilla y La Mancha region.

    Only the person who ignited the barbecue faces formal charges pending further investigation, she said.

    The blaze, one of the biggest in Spain this summer and the deadliest in years, has charred an estimated 12,000 hectares (29,600 acres). Firefighters were still fighting the fire Tuesday but were expected to have the blaze under control later in the day.

    ''The fire is practically under control but not totally extinguished,'' said Vallejo. She added that only 40 of the 400 people evacuated had not yet returned home.

    Police had blamed a barbecue that was not completely extinguished for the fire.

    The firefighters, men and women ranging in age from 24 to 52, died after they were trapped in the fire Sunday when a change of wind altered the direction of the flames. Only two of the 11 bodies have been formally identified, Vallejo said.

    Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega held an emergency ministerial meeting Monday after visiting the scene and called for tougher and speedier legal action against people who start such fires. She said that there were 16 forest fires throughout Spain over the weekend.

    Fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions, fires destroy large stretches of woodland in Spain and neighboring Portugal every summer. Spain also is suffering from its worst drought since officials began keeping records in the late 1940s.
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...nId=4&id=43401
    AP Photo/Paul White
    People from the nearby village walk away from an overturned fire truck near Ribas de Saelices in the provence of Guadalajara in Spain Monday July 18, 2005.

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