Spanish wetlands in serious fire situation

Spanish wetlands in serious fire situation

21 October 2009

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Spain —

The most significant wetlands in Spain were on fire yesterday causing possible irreversible damage to the wetlands that make up the Las Tablas de Damiel national park. Although 1% of the wetland area is still wet, the damage is mostly occurring underground because as it dries out, the land underneath is slowly catching on fire, with small puffs of smoke peaking out from under the ground.

Carlos Ruiz, the director of the park, stated that the area is in a great deal of trouble, but further comments have been restricted by the environment ministry, although environmental scientists have confirmed that the park is in fact in trouble.

Luis Moreno from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain stated that there have been warning signs over the last 20 years that the park was in danger of drying out. The wetlands are essentially peat, like the bogs found in Ireland; it will start to burn spontaneously due to chemical reactions as it dries out.

As a side effect of the underground fires a dangerous amount of carbon dioxide is also being released into the air, polluting the surrounding towns, and the wider problem of adding to global warming.

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