Eleven firefighters killed by blaze as wind changes
18 July 2005, GUADALAJARA — Rescue workers recovered the bodies of 11 firefighters killed over the weekend in a wildfire in central Spain.
18 July 2005
GUADALAJARA — Rescue workers recovered the bodies of 11 firefighters killed over the weekend in a wildfire in central Spain.
Castilla-La Mancha regional government head Jose Maria Barreda said the bodies would be taken to a morgue in Guadalajara.
A helicopter will be used to transport the bodies from Riba de Saelices, one of the towns most affected by the fire and the site of a temporary morgue.
The firefighters were apparently caught by surprise by flames that shot up from a ravine as they made their way down a road, Riba de Saelices Mayor Jose Luis Samper said.
DNA tests will be performed to confirm the identities of the 11 dead firefighters, who were all experienced in putting out forest fires.
Isaac Viñas, an official with natural-resources company Tragsa, told EFE that two of the dead were forest rangers and the others were contract firefighters hired to help put out the blazes in Guadalajara province.
Environment minister Cristina Narbona, meanwhile, told the Spanish Cadena Ser radio station that the fire, which is still burning in three areas, has scorched some 8,000 hectares (19,753 acres) of pine forests in the northwestern part of Guadalajara province.
Narbona said the fire, which is threatening environmentally rich Alto Tajo Natural Park, was started by a berbeque fire that was not fully extinguished
It was first thought the number of dead was 14 though this was later reduced.
It is the highest death toll from a forest fire in Spain for 15 years.
It is the latest in a series of major blazes partly caused by the worst drought in Spain for 60 years.
But a number of fires have also been started deliberately, fire investigators believe.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news