Arson suspected in Spanish forest fires – reports

Arson suspected in Spanish forest fires – reports

12 August 2006

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Galicia, Spain — Police in north-western Spain have begun to suspect that disastrous forest fires raging in the area had possibly been purposely set by organized gangs, media reports said Saturday.

The reports said crime officials had begun to investigate private fire-fighting companies and construction outfits amid the increasing conviction that most of the fires in the Galicia region had been set by arsonists.

‘We are not fighting against the usual fires here,’ Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said. ‘Behind the fires there lies strategic planning and the ugliest intentions.’

Police have so far arrested 20 arson suspects. The media reports however said there were no initial indications that they belonged to any gangs.

Meanwhile firefighters were battling more than 100 different blazes in the Galicia provincial region on Saturday. Overnight, the flames once again reached the outskirts of the cities of Ourense and Santiago de Compostela. Dozens of homes had to be evacuated.


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