On Sunday, August 23 2010, the beautiful area of Benirras was affected by devastating fires, which continued to burn for three days, across up to 350 hectares of land and completely ravaging the beautiful environment and surroundings, including homes, cars and property.
While White-Escapes is not regularly a news-based site, we felt we could not let the events of this week pass without acknowledging the devastation to our beautiful island and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the fires – our hearts and thoughts are with the people, the beach, the forest, the animals and the brave firefighters at this time. We are currently seeking ways in which local residents or visitors can volunteer to help in the recovery process or donate towards the rehabilitation.
Up to 1500 people were evacuated from the area on Sunday, many by sea, taken by volunteers to the port of San Miguel as they left the scene. Approximately 30 cars were destroyed as flames engulfed the area and jumped the winding road between the forest, and burning up the mountain and over to Cala Xarraca.
Every firefighter on the island was called to action, along with additional troops from nearby Mallorca, while seaplanes, helicopters and cargo planes provided relief with constant water drops, taking water from Aguas Blancas, San Antonio and according to reports, even swimming pools near to the affected areas.
The cause of the fire has been identified by the Balearic government as an ‘act of negligence’, and believed, but not yet proven, to have been instigated by cave dwellers, not deliberate arson as originally suspected. Meanwhile, the fire has been called an ecological disaster by the Prime Minister of the Balearic Islands, Francesc Antich and the worst seen since a blaze in 1993.
Today, emergency workers are continuing their efforts on the scene to prevent any further re-ignition of the flames, make the area safe to return to and restore peace to the once tranquil bay and mountain area – news reports suggest that it will take up to 20 years to clean and rehabilitate the area, and many more years for any new pine trees planted to reach full growth.
The Ibiza Preservation Fund have today announced that they will be posting news on how to volunteer to help with the recovery process in the coming days and weeks, so please keep checking their website and Facebook page for updates.
All photography courtesy of Ultima Hora – ultimahora.es/ibiza