The Minister of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, has announced an imminent execution of emergency works to mitigate the forest hydrological risk in the area affected by the fire in the Sierra de Mijas last July.
Some works that will begin “immediately” and in which more than two million euros will be invested in a public forest area of 612 hectares distributed among the municipalities of Alhaurín el Grande, Alhaurín de la Torre and Mijas.
Accompanied by the deputy councilor, Sergio Arjona, the territorial delegate, José Antonio Víquez, and mayors and councilors of the municipalities affected by the fire, the councilor visited the area devastated by the fire.
Thus, Fernández-Pacheco has highlighted “the importance not only of firefighting tasks, but also prevention and citizen awareness, in addition to forest recovery in affected areas.”
This last section includes the work that, declared an emergency, “will begin in the next few days to restore damage and try to minimize the erosive processes generated by the action of future rainfall.”
The autumn and winter rains, after the sudden loss of vegetation cover derived from the fire, could generate serious erosive effects and floods in the catchments, in addition to entailing risks of sudden fall of trees affected by the fire, collects the resolution of the direction General Forest Policy.
“Something – the counselor insisted – especially critical in the land closest to the network of roads, paths and walkable trails”.
The works will consist of actions ranging from the elimination of burned trees, pest control, actions aimed at curbing water erosion processes through the creation of stone walls or with remains of wood in small torrents and fajines on the slopes, to the reforestation through the sowing and planting of tree and shrub species.
The risk, which is what has endorsed the emergency declaration of the works, takes on special significance right in the area of the fire, very prone to torrential phenomena due to the generation of isolated depressions in the upper areas of the atmosphere (DANA). A phenomenon that can cause serious damage to people and infrastructure.
The works planned within the framework of this action have been divided into three zones – each one in one of the three affected municipal terms – with the aim of carrying them out “quickly and safely” in a total area of 612.36 hectares .
The works, which will begin immediately and simultaneously, will have a maximum execution period of nine months and have been awarded through the public lottery procedure with an invitation to 26 companies, although 20 were ultimately selected.
The first of the works includes actions on 287.17 hectares of the La Sierra public forest, in Alhaurín el Grande, where the works will be carried out with an estimated maximum budget of 802,388.48 euros.
The second zone affects 213.44 hectares of the La Mezquita and Puerto Blanquillo public forest, in Alhaurín de la Torre, where an estimated maximum budget of 769,823.15 euros will be invested; while the third area of action, on 111.75 hectares in the municipality of Mijas (in Sierra Blanca and Sierra Bermeja) has a maximum execution budget of 385,255.46 euros. In addition, the deputy management of the emergency works has been awarded, which will have a maximum budget of 58,383.79 euros.
The Sierra de Mijas forest fire began at noon on July 15 in the area known as El Higuerón, although it eventually affected the municipalities of Mijas, Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre.
Due to the meteorological circumstances (changeable wind, steep orography and abundant vegetation), the fire acquired great virulence. The proximity to inhabited areas led to the activation of level 1 of the Emergency Plan for Forest Fires and, only after several days of extinction, which required the participation of a significant number of human resources and aerial means, was the fire considered controlled on July 19 and expired August 3.