Spain — The tragic forest fire which killedeleven firefighters and razed an area of almost 13,000 hectares in Guadalajaraprovince in July 2005 could have serious consequences for the person who wasenvironmental chief with the Castilla-La Mancha regional government atthe time. An instruction court in Sigüenza has ruled there is evidencethat Rosario Arévalo may be guilty of serious negligence.
Judge María del Mar Lorenzo said there were serious deficiencies in controlling the use of barbecues and their vigilance, an absence of specific adequate measures, and also noted defects in Castilla-La Manchas forest fire plan, both in its implementation and in its control.
The fire on 16th July 2005 was started by a spark from a barbecue.
Almost three years after the tragedy, there is now a list of 26 suspects, most of them high ranking members of the Castilla-La Mancha regional government. The others include the environmental chief in Guadalajara province, Sergio David González, the ex director of the Alto Tajo Natural Park, Rafael Ruiz López, and José Luis Samper, who was Mayor at the time of the village where the fire started, la Riba de Saelices.
Photo: The aftermath of the tragic forest fire in Guadalajara in 2005 which killed 11 people. Archive photo EFE
Rosario Arévalo is no longer with the regionalgovernment and is currently, El Mundo said, environment director with thestate-owned company Enusa, which supplies fuel to nuclear power stations.Her status as a former member of the regional government means any court actiontaken against her would fall to the Castilla-La Mancha High Court of Justice,the TSJCLM.