Third forest fire in two months prompts arson probe
More than 200 guests had to be evacuated from their holiday hotel as a wild fire believed to have been started by arsonists came perilously close to their rooms.
This was the third fire in two months in picturesque Cala Saona on the Balearic island of Formentera.
Police have launched an investigation as they believe they could all be linked and started deliberately.
Guests at the Cala Saona, together with ten homes nearby, were asked to leave as the blaze ravaged 14 hectares of pine and juniper trees. One hundred members of staff were also evacuated.
At one stage, the cloud of thick black smoke could be seen from the beaches of neighbouring Ibiza and the flames were just 200 metres from the hotel.
Firefighters eventually managed to prevent the fire from spreading.
Investigators say there is “sufficient evidence” to suggest it was started deliberately.
Together, the three fires have devastated more than 30 hectares of forest land in the area.
Officials said this latest fire appears to have started in three different locations. It was categorised as Level 1 which implies risk to property and people.
As the emergency services battled the worst area, brave workers from the hotel and nearby residents used buckets of water and sand to put out the flames nearest to them.
Reinforcements were sent over from Ibiza and Mallorca, including a water-carrying helicopter. At one stage, there were three planes fighting the blaze and 23 firefighters.
Island president, Jaume Ferrer said: “We are worried, it is the third fire in two months in the same area and we are waiting for the Civil Guard to tell us something about this. “
The first fire was in May when 14 hectares were destroyed and the second on July 6th which devastated about 10.2 hectares of pine forest.
One firefighter needed treatment for smoke inhalation and mild burns.