The force and virulence of the Sierra Bermeja fire has caught the troops by surprise Infoca Plan, who have been trying to control the fire for more than 48 hours without success and have had to withdraw the ground resources due to the appearance of a pyrocumulus, a large cloud full of incandescent embers. These characteristics make this fire a sixth generation fire or firestorm, a type that until now had been registered in Australia, the United States and the Eastern Mediterranean (Greece and Turkey this summer), but which is the first time that it has been lived in Spain. And it is not being easy to intervene to stop it.
This type of fires is closely related to climate change and they are especially dangerous, insofar as they are highly virulent, the appearance of these fire clouds multiplies the ability to spread and they have a deceptive behavior, nothing to do with the fires that traditionally they have been produced in Spain.
What is a sixth generation fire?
According to him regional deputy director of Infoca, Alejandro Garcia, they are fires that generate a cloud of condensation due to the heat of the fire which, depending on the difference in temperature between the ground and the upper layers, has more or less capacity to penetrate the atmosphere.
“In the higher, colder layers, there may be humidity. When that circumstance occurs, they are loaded with water and, therefore, weight, and they lose the force of inertia towards the higher layers. They begin to widen and when they are separated from the power supply and they collapse “, explains Alejandro García. “When collapsing, all Incandescent candles containing the plumes of smoke start to burn again, because there is no oxygen, they burn very slowly. When they fall, they pass through oxygen again and come out to ignite. Of those thousands of pavesas, tens, hundreds, fall “.
It is a very dangerous phenomenon for the operatives, since it can produce massive traps, “as we saw in those 32 people in Pedrogao in 2017,” Garcia recalled.
Therefore, from the command post the decision has been taken to withdraw all the troops who were still working on the ground and to maintain the aerial means, waiting for that huge cloud of white smoke to dissipate or to begin to flattened underneath and collapse.
“We have a coordination plane that every half hour first and every 15 minutes after He is sending us a photograph of the development of that pyrocumulus and also the altitude. So we are monitoring it “, adds the deputy director of Infoca, a team that has three meteorologists specializing in vertical reading of the atmosphere who are reporting on the evolution.
This phenomenon already occurred during the day yesterday and ended up disappearing around half past nine at night, so that from the direction of the fire there is a margin of half an hour or a little more. “From eight, eight fifteen it will have been reduced so much that we will be able to return to undertake those perimeter extinction works. We hope that the risk will be canceled at 10 at night.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.