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Two wildfires threaten Guadarrama National Park

Eleven helicopters, three airtankers and 35 firefighting brigades are working to put out the blazes, which broke out on Sunday afternoon

Footage of the efforts to fight the wildfire. Video: Atlas

Two wildfires are threatening the Guadarrama National Park in Madrid region and Castile and León. The first fire broke out on Sunday around 2pm in the mountain crossing Puerto de la Morcuera, between Rascafría and the town Miraflores de la Sierra in Madrid region. The M-611 highway was shut down for close to an hour to allow emergency vehicles to reach the fire.

A second blaze broke out in La Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia around 4pm, prompting Madrid regional authorities to activate level 1 of the Wildfire Plan (Informa). This allows an emergency military unit (UME) to be sent to the Segovian section of the park to stop the fire from spreading to Madrid.

The blaze in La Morcuera.
The blaze in La Morcuera. Valverdedelcamino

Wind in the area pushed the blaze across the mountainside and a large column smoke could be seen from the capital. The cause of the fire, which is not close to any residential areas, remains unknown.

Eleven helicopters, three large-scale airtankers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and 35 firefighting and forest brigades, are working to put out the wildfires. On Sunday, the airtankers made the most of the last hours of light to control the flames and stop the fire from spreading to more wooded areas of the national park in the night.

The Civil Guard has set up a security in the area to stop people from accessing the area while firefighters are working to put out the blaze.

A helicopter drops water on the fire in La Morcuera.
A helicopter drops water on the fire in La Morcuera.

Madrid’s emergency medical services (SUMMA 112) and Civil Protection from Miraflores de la Sierra and Guadalix de la Sierra are also in the area to provide assistance if needed. No one has had to evacuate their home yet.

One of the problems facing the firefighters is the wind, which is continually changing direction, meaning the blaze is spreading in an uncontrolled manner. The area is home to scrubland and pine trees, but there are also areas without vegetation, given the height of the mountain (1,796 meters).

Stretching over 33,960 hectares, Guadarrama National Park is Spain’s fifth-largest national park. It encompasses three spaces that were declared Natural Sites of National Interest in 1927: La Pedriza del Manzanares; the Summit, Cirque and Lagoons of Peñalara; and the Pine Grove of Acebeda.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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