Spain-Forest Ranger Started Fire To Save Job

Forest Ranger Started Fire To Save Job

29 July 2007

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A Spanish forest ranger has confessed to starting a huge and fast-growing fire in the Canary Islands, saying his job contract was about to run out and he wanted to keep working.
Bushfire sweeps Canary Islands
The blaze that began on Friday in a mountainous area on the island of Gran Canary has now charred 3,500 hectares (8,750 acres) of ecologically-rich land, most of it top-quality pine trees.
About 100 firefighters are battling the blaze in difficult conditions of extremely hot weather and low humidity. Many areas on fire are in rough terrain that is hard to reach.
The Civil Guard said police arrested the ranger, identified as 37-year-old Juan Antonio Navarro Armas, and he later confessed to setting the fire with matches.
Navarro Armas’s three-month job contract had been due to expire in September, and he said he started the fire hoping the work would lead the authorities to extend his contract.
The police said Navarro Armas was the one who first reported the fire, and police arrested him after detecting contradictions in his account of what happened.
Another, much smaller fire on the Canary Island of La Gomera was under control, but not completely extinguished, after burning some 160 hectares (400 hectares) of land.

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