The Government of the Canary Islands, responsible for the tasks of extinction of the fire that has ravaged Tenerife since last day 15, has unanimously handled a hypothesis about the genesis of the fire: it was intentional. “From the beginning it was suspected that it was an arson attack, the investigations by the Civil Guard have confirmed it,” Clavijo said on the 20th, adding that the security force “maintains three lines of investigation.” “Of course”, he completed the idea the following day in an interview with EL PAÍS, “whoever provoked it did so with full knowledge of the facts and with a clear intention”. These statements have caused discomfort within the Civil Guard. Internal sources deny that this hypothesis is being worked on.
“As of today, there is no element that allows us to conclude, even if it is indicative, or that it has been provoked, or that it is due to some imprudence or natural causes,” sources from the armed institute maintain. These sources have qualified that the investigations that are being followed to clarify the causes are “complex and require a lot of time”, and that despite the fact that the Civil Guard “is putting all the means and resources from the first minute to be able to elucidate what happened, The investigation, which has already been prosecuted, is still in a very preliminary phase.” “We demand prudence and caution from public officials when making public statements that may affect the investigation,” they remark. This newspaper has contacted the Government of the Canary Islands, which has refused to comment on the news.
The aforementioned Civil Guard sources explain that, at this initial moment, the teams have already collected satellite data on the possible points where the fires started. The main investigation, however, will be based on two pillars: the visual inspection of the alleged outbreaks and the taking of statements from possible witnesses. “These two processes have not yet been carried out given that, for this, the fire must have subsided, the area must be cooled and we must have the necessary permits from the emergency coordination so that the experts, the scientific and judicial police can take samples and analyze them in the laboratory. All of this hasn’t happened yet.”
The intentional fires are particularly painful among a population that little by little is becoming aware of climate change. 89% of these fires are caused by humans, according to data from the Environment Prosecutor’s Office. Data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition reveal that 25.5% of the total fires investigated are intentional, and that the remaining 63.5% are caused by negligence.
The management of the fire is defined by the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Attention for Forest Fires in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands (INFOCA), approved in 2014. This fire is at level 2, so it is the autonomous Executive that has assumed coordination. This plan contemplates the creation of an advisory committee made up of representatives of the Canarian Government itself and its agencies, the Island Council and the General State Administration, which provides both representatives of the Government Delegation and the State Security Forces. . Among them, the Civil Guard itself, which is in charge of the Security Directorate of this emergency.
The emergency was declared at dawn on August 15 between the municipalities of Arafo and Candelaria, in an area that is very difficult to access due to its steep orography. The dryness of the terrain, the high temperatures and the accumulation of fuel caused the flames to spread rapidly over the following days. Six days later, the fire has affected 14,624 hectares – 7.1% of the total area of the island – distributed in 12 municipalities. The emergency has a total perimeter of 88 kilometers. These figures make the fire the most serious of all those that have been declared in Spain this year, and the worst of those registered in the Canary Islands in the last four decades.
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