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Hunt for Arsonists leads to arrests 

 

Tenerife has sent out a very clear warning to anyone who starts a forest fire, either intentionally or through reckless behaviour.

Last summer, there was huge concern when blazes swept across the south, coming dangerously close to the tourist areas. The authorities pledged there and then to catch those responsible no matter what it took to find them and they have kept their promise.

At least five people now face heavy fines and prison after being arrested on suspicion of starting the fires which hit the international headlines. One of them threw a cigarette out of an open car window near an abandoned orchard but has been caught following extensive enquiries. That one act started fires which affected 6,512 hectares in the municipalities of Adeje, Vilaflor, La Orotava and Guia de Isora and caused untold damage to the environment, agricultural and private property. It took weeks to finally get the fire under control.

Two other people have been charged with arson in connec-tion with a fire which lasted several days in and around El Tanque, Los Silos and Santiago del Teide.

DNA testing on an incendiary device found in Icod de Los Vinos has also led to the arrest of a resident believed to have started three fires last August and a fifth person is being charged with four arson attempts in Tacoronte.

In the wake of these fires, the government has tightened up penalties to allow prison sentences of up to five years but not in retrospect.