La Gomera Fire – Incalculable Ecological Damage.

August 13, 2012

Garajonay National Park photo @wilcoyankee - Alejandro Darias

The La Gomera fire which has been burning now for 8 days has decimated part of a nature reserve of “incalculable ecological value”.

The laurel forest  which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 covers some 70% of the Garajonay National park.

The lush vegetation resembles that of the Tertiary period, which, due to climatic changes, has largely disappeared from southern Europe.

The Laurels unlike the Pine trees of the forest will take decades to recover from this disaster.

But the fire hasn’t just destroyed the vegetation, 39 homes have been affected and a large number of animals were trapped as the wildfire spread out of control.

The Canarian Government has admitted that the fire will not be put out any time soon and meanwhile there are calls to upgrade the level of the fire so that the state has to assume responsibility for coordinating fire fighting efforts.

Update 10pm

The red line in the current spread of the La Gomera fire, the blue dots are the aerial water drops that have taken place through the day.

Many of those evacuated were able to return to their homes tonight. but not the residents of the 39 houses damaged by fire in Valle Gran Rey, nor those from Vallehermoso town, Las Hayas, Banda de Rosas and Los Loros.

The fire is now heading slowly towards Vallehermoso with various focal points.

A change in wind direction, and a fall in temperature leads the authorities to be hopeful that fire-fighting efforts will more successful overnight.

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