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4 deaths in forest fires in Galicia

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I just came back from fighting a fire close to my house.... tons of people with brushes and whatever they had... after 5 hours I think we got it all out.

It is burning pretty much all around Santiago (also in Santiago, not in town but you can see it walking into town).

It should be no danger for pilgrims, you can see it well in advance and avoid it if necessary. But for us owning houses close to the forest it is a (&%/($/&%.

Now shower and bed.

Buenas noches,
Ivar
 
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Fires in Galicia and Portugal are making headlines as far as Montreal !

Take care Ivar and be careful. I want to see you in good health once I get to Santiago around October 1. I'd hate to drink a cup of coffee alone....

I wish you all the best and hope the situation will be corrected soon. Nice to see you have plenty of help.
 
main item in the local press today. Better coverage in Correo Gallego, with numerous articles, including one entitled 'Farewell to Santiago's green lung' http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php?idNoticia=72172 and 14 photo galleries, including the over-sensationally entitled 'Santiago in flames' (it's the surrounding countryside that is in flames, not the city itself)
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/indexServ ... /index.php

One thing that's missing though is a map showing where all these communities and fires are.

Also a picture gallery on the BBC's website http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/5252402.stm
 
(it's the surrounding countryside that is in flames, not the city itself)

Santiago county has a lot of forest, so I think it is that they are reffering to. Forest has burned 300 meter from campus sur and about 600 meters from Alameda park. Not the city itself, but close.

Ivar
 
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I have not had time to write much about this, but here is a short resume of what is going on around Santiago.

Last night I saw 7 fires from my house, at 11pm (when it was dark) from my bedroom window I could see only fire and smoke on the horizon. At one time on Monday it looked like (from the smoke) that we had one big fire from Santiago almost to Padron (that is about 10 km). It was of course several small ones, but with the strong winds that we have (and no rain in the forecast) it spreads fast.

We got calls from friends at midnight last night crying because their house was about to go... at the end it went well, but in Rois (close to Padron on the way in on the camino Portuguese) 80% of that county has burned.

80%!

Monday night my neighbors called me to tell me that the village next to ours are calling for help to save their houses. We grabbed what we had and ran. After 5 hours of trying to take out the fire, we made it. If this fire would have continued my house would be next. The last hour we got some help from a fire truck and that made the difference. The fire trucks are driving non-stop from place to place and are doing a great job.

It is a disaster, it is a disaster, it is a disaster.

:(

Ivar
 
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Hi Ivar, just wanted to let you know that we are all thinking and praying for you and your neighbours at this terrible time.
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Ivar,

Hope everything will go well for you with all that fire around your place. Is it easy to drive from santiago city to your house?

Paul
 
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Around my house things have calmed down. We had two major fires within 10 km yesterday, but nothing close.

Last night it was burning close to Finisterre, not in town and not out by the lighthouse, but on your way into town. The road was closed for several hours making it impossible to drive out there. It was also burning just above Cee.

I saw a comment by a pilgrim in La Voz this morning that just came back from Finisterre Peter from Ireland:"Finisterre was great but it is all burning".

A friend of mine went to the beach at Carnota (between just north of Muros and south of Finisterre) two days ago, they could almost not see the sun...

The road out to my house is fine... about a 15 minute drive. It has not been closed as far as I know. My local gas station almost burned down last night. My local church the day before. They both made it in the end. There are a lot of people working on this now, the army has arrived and volunteers from several countries. It has now been 7 days.

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
photos of fires in Fisterra/Muxia area here and here. Described as a 3km-wide front.

Also fire this morning on outskirts of Orense. Many new fires today, mainly in Pontevedra province, some 9% of which is reported burnt.

Most disturbing for the authorities is that many of these fires appear to have been deliberately started.
 
Most disturbing for the authorities is that many of these fires appear to have been deliberately started.

14 reportedly arrested so far. There are several theories related to who can be behind this, it seems like it is organized some how. Many seem to think it can be politically motivated.... I don't know.

Ivar
 
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:oops: Hi Ivar, Peter and all together,
I am ashamed about thinking just for my well getting back home and not to notice your and your nabours tragedy caused by these fires. I saw them walking from Monte do Gozo to Santiago on last Sunday but didn't know that this is the area where your house is. And not able to understand spanish television and newspapers I didn't realize how severe this situation was - and still is.
I think of you and hope all will end in a good way.
With my really best wishes to you and all people around in this area
Bernd
 
According to this article, some 90% of the total fires in Galicia and 100% of those in Santiago district have been deliberately started. However, the police are discounting an organised plot.
700 hectares of Santiago district has burned, some 3% of the total area.

Although the general situation in Galicia has improved somewhat, new fires are burning to the north of Santiago, with 40 people having to leave their homes.
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/inicio/not ... TO=5017287
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php?idNoticia=73532

And, at last, a map! http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php?idNoticia=73485
 
Today I see only blue skies, no smoke south of Santiago!! And we got our phones and internet connection back, so life is getting back to normal.

... that said I know they are struggling out on the coast.

Here is the map that El Correo Gallego posted today:
cuerpo_12441.jpg

El Correo Gallego, Saturday August 12th
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php?idNoticia=73485


Ivar
 
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Message of Sympathy and support

Hello Ivar,
I would like to suggest that a message of sympathy and support be sent on behalf of all your members of the Santiago-Today Forum to the good people of Galicia. Especially to the fire fighters and volunteers who put their lives on the line every day to fight these fires. Perhaps this can be done through the pilgrim office in Santiago?
A pilgrim has reported on the massive loss of fauna and flora, that the wild horses in the mountains outside Pontevedra are now probably wiped out, along with tons of livestock. It is a dreadful, terribly tragedy.
I am so pleased that you and yours are safe.
Sil
 
such sad news

Hi all, dawn in Canada. I am very saddened to hear of this tragedy. i have not looked at the site for a week or so, and i was shocked at what i was reading. Walking in the countryside was magical when i walked in may/june, i hope all those that are responsible are kept locked up.
my prayers are all with you to be safe.
dawn
 
no of fires described as 'active' now down to 8. Arrests risen to 27.

Forecast for rain to sweep across Spain Wednesday/Thursday, though it may just be light rain like we've been having on and off for the past couple of weeks.
 
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Driest since 1978, 3 months with "no" rain (we had some drizzles one day a few weeks back I remember...). In and around Santiago it should be all normal today.... it has gotten colder since yesterday (have 20c now), so we are waiting for the rain they promised tomorrow. During the worst days last week we had 37c.

As for pilgrims, I think the province of Lugo "only" had a few fires so coming in on the camino Frances you will probably not notice anything until you reach the Santiago airport.

El camino Portuguese and the walk out to Finisterre is where you probably will see the fire-damage the most.

It would be interesting to hear from pilgrims out there how the situation is right now.

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
with rain now falling on many parts of Galicia, the emergency is now officially over, though one firefighter, drafted in from Castilla La Mancha, is in hospital with 45% burns - condition described as serious but stable.

[Update 19.8: this man has now left intensive care.]

Area damaged by fire currently put at 80,000 hectares.
 
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Yes it is raining, well it is more like 5 minutes of drizzle, 10 minutes of no rain, then 5 minutes of quite a lot of rain, .... Galicia weather.

It is actually quite good, they were worried that if it was to poor down, the drinking water would be contaminated by the ashes and that the ashes also would be washed down to the sea (in the rivers) and would kill seafood in the ocean... but with this drizzle it should be ok... I hope.

People in the streets are starting to smile again... this is good. Things come back to normal.

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
reasonable rainfall yesterday, particularly in the worst affected western areas. Total damaged area now put at 3% of Galicia (of which 2.6% August 4-15), and much higher in the west (Pontevedra province 8.5%) than in the east (Lugo 0.2%).
Large nos of aerial photos here http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php?idNoticia=74634
According to the Xunta, 8,562 firefighters were involved, with help from France, Morocco, Italy, Portugal and Andorra, besides other parts of Spain.
 
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