The huge Sierra de Bermeja fire is declared ‘controlled’

The huge Sierra de Bermeja fire is declared ‘controlled’

The wild fire in the nearby Sierra Bermeja that has destroyed 10,000 hectares of forest, has hit the headlines in a big way. Not only here in Spain, where updates feature daily on the national news, but also in Germany and the UK too, writes our contributor Paul Whitelock, who keeps an eye on the news in both of those countries. Doubtless, it has been covered in other countries too.

The fire, which started on the late evening of Wednesday last at around 21.30 near Genalguacil spread quickly through the area. On Thursday as the blaze headed for Benahavís and Estepona the AP7 was closed for a time.

It was probably started deliberately, say the experts. The fire was still burning out of control at the weekend despite the deployment of 550 firefighters and 50 planes and helicopters carrying water to drop on the blaze.

As I headed from Ronda to Montejaque on Saturday morning I thought there was a fire there too, as the sky over the Sierra de Grazalema was dark with smoke.

On arrival in the village I was informed that it was the same fire that was moving north and had reached Atajate and the smoke was filling the Guadiaro valley.

By Saturday afternoon you couldn’t see Benaoján for the dense smoke and it really was starting to get in your eyes.

One British homeowner who had planned to stay in her holiday home in Montejaque for two weeks was finding the smoke an irritant and decided to head off to Málaga for the rest of her stay instead.

Many others were complaining that their eyes were sore.

Come Sunday the cloud of smoke was worse and had spilled over into the Arriate valley. Ronda, up the hill, was also shrouded in this cloying “cloud”. Fine deposits of ash were everywhere.

As I headed for Montejaque again on Sunday it was eerie and the air was genuinely unpleasant.  You couldn’t see the sky.

For more information about this blaze, keep an eye on the SUR in English website.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.