More soldiers march to combat La Gomera wildfires

28th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

About 50 soldiers will join in battling a wildfire that has been raging on six fronts since Saturday at the Canary Island of La Gomera.

28 April 2008

MADRID - About 50 more soldiers have been sent to the Canary Island of La Gomera, where more than 200 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers are already battling a wildfire that remained active on six fronts, the Spanish government said Monday.

The blaze has devoured more than 700 hectares of agricultural land and forest. It has affected some houses and killed some farm animals, but caused no injuries to people, media reported.

Hundreds of people fled wildfires Saturday on La Gomera, with some residents taking refuge on the beaches of the small island in the Canaries, provincial authorities said.

Separate blazes broke out around the towns of Hermigua, Vallehermoso and Agulo in the northern part of the Spanish island. At least one house was destroyed by late Saturday.

Most of the 500 people who were evacuated over the weekend have returned home.

Firefighters using water-dropping aircraft and helicopters were trying to prevent the flames from reaching Garajonay National Park, which is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its laurel forests and other ecological features.

One of the fire fronts was believed to have been sparked by uncovered electric cables in windy weather. A man living in the locality of Hermigua was detained on charges of lighting another front by burning stubble.

La Gomera, which measures 370 square kilometres and has about 15,000 residents, is a popular tourist destination.

In 2007, wildfires devastated 11,000 hectares of land on the bigger Canary Islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

[dpa / ANP / Expatica]

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