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Neighbors evicted by the Teruel fire, at the risk of the wind: "We were saved because it blew in another direction"


The inhabitants of Olba return to their homes, along with their animals, ready to alleviate the fragility of their privileged environment that has not been burned by a change in the wind

The valley where the town of Olba is located is a wonder of nature.

It is surrounded by high mountains populated by pine forests between which the Mijares river runs.

This privileged environment has been saved from burning by a "miracle", according to Juan, because "the wind changed at the last moment", Manuel maintains, or because "it blew in another direction", in Teresa's words.

The three residents of this Teruel town of 280 inhabitants (including 52 children) coincide in reflecting on the fragility of their environment.

On Sunday afternoon they were able to return to their homes, after being evicted last Thursday when the fire broke out that has been alive for five days in the nearby Castellón town of Villanueva de Viver.

The flames, pushed by the west,

It's Monday, first thing in the morning.

Teresa looks at the huge, green mountain behind her house and comments that everything is different on the other side.

There, the fire devoured thick pine forests and devastated La García, a small hamlet or neighborhood, as the multiple scattered nuclei of a municipality are called in Teruel, in this case the neighboring San Agustín.

“Look, how the old terraces have been invaded by the forest, at the moment they were abandoned by the neighbors who emigrated.

This is a very serious problem, because now the mountain is a powder keg, it is not worked as before, ”she points out.

"In the fifties and sixties, people emigrated to Barcelona, ​​to the city, and the mountains were left neglected and that's how things happen," says Manuel, a retiree.

“We are at the mercy of the wind.

And this cannot be”, concludes Teresa Laguna, who rents several rural houses that she has been rehabilitating over time, once she and her husband discovered the town more than 30 years ago and decided to launch a project of those that can change a life.

It was changed to her.

She is one of the people who left the city and went to live in Olba seven years ago.

And not because of the claim of its public school, which follows the teachings of the great educator María Montesori, and which has attracted young families, but because of the emotion of the landscape, for the silence, for a vital project, for the company of the animals, like the donkey that he managed to bring in his eviction.

Practically, the only thing she took, unlike other neighbors who took deeds from her house, family photographs, jewelry...

Juan, a neighbor of Olba, this Monday in one of the neighborhoods of the town.


There has been great solidarity in these three days of coexistence between residents in hotels in Mora de Rubielos and other nearby towns, says the journalist, who was communication director of the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community (TSJCV).

This Monday, the neighbors greeted each other effusively through the streets.

It seems that they have become more united after the experience of seeing so closely what could have happened.

So much so that yesterday afternoon they issued a statement stating that the town was only saved because the "wind blew in another direction" and because "many personal and air resources fought tirelessly so that the flames did not enter."

Aware of this "fragility", they recall that the Olba valley, between the Gúdar and Javalambre mountain ranges, is a protected natural space and is part of the Natura 2000 Network and its "large forest masses (...) are parched due to lack of of rains and the unusual heat of the last months” and by the lack of use of the mountains.

For this reason, they ask the political leaders of the Government of Aragon to "create security perimeters in each of the neighborhoods (villages) of the valley to prevent our houses from burning in the event of a fire, as has happened in La García". or that “all neighborhoods be provided with the necessary extinguishing means in each case to stop possible attempts, among other measures.

The dream of a lifetime of Iñaki Martínez went up in flames in La García, located right in the middle of a place as beautiful as it lacks exits in cases of emergency such as the fire.

The house that he had recovered over more than 20 years, breathing life into some ruins, is in ruins.

He will continue going because the house of some friends has remained standing, but everything has changed.

“I have lived a very happy life”, comments this versatile audiovisual professional who lives for seasons in Valencia and has participated as an actor in web series such as

Cabanyal Z

or the TV-3 series

Polseres vermelles

, among others.

Moment in which the La García neighborhood of Sant Agustín burned last Friday. Mònica Torres

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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