After the August 2022 fires has anyone got any updates? At least half of the terrain burned (around 35,000 hectares)
The 2022 forest fires were devastating
In the summer of 2022, two major wildfires occurred in the Sierra de la Culebra, located in the northwest of the Spanish province of Zamora. They particularly affected the Sierra de la Culebra and its surroundings. The first fire started on June 15 between the municipalities of Ferreras de Arriba and Sarracín de Aliste, and the second on July 17 in the municipality of Losacio. Both fires were caused by a phenomenon known as dry thunderstorm. The first fire was brought under control on June 24, 2022, and the second on August 14, 2022.
For our regions, everything has changed, since the consequences of the fires will haunt us for decades. Thousands of hectares of charred forests that undermine the future expectations of both the affected territories and the entire province. A destruction that has already forced many of our inhabitants to change the way of life.
However, all this negative impact on the province, has it resulted in a change of administrations over Zamora? Obviously not.
The Junta de Castilla y León, which is the one that has the competence and responsibility in forest management, has allocated more time and resources to cover up what happened and make humiliating proposals such as the famous “solidarity concert” than to compensate all the people affected. It has devoted much more effort to ensuring municipal political control of the comarcas than to making substantial changes in the resources and conditions in which its forest firefighters work.
It has made a much greater effort to conspiratorially look for culprits outside, than to assume responsibility for its own management. In short, the Junta de Castilla y León has invested more in political marketing than in compensating the people affected by applying its maxims of “nothing has happened here” and “it’s someone else’s fault”.
A desperate panorama to which is added the inaction of the Government, which either on its own initiative or by putting pressure on the Board, could have approved a revitalization plan for the regions devastated by the fires.
Why hasn’t an essential revitalization plan been carried out to restore everything that was lost? How can it be that neither the Junta de Castilla y León, nor the Government, nor any other administration have turned around to support the province? How can it be so obvious that once the media left, its promises and priorities were forgotten?
This is how we are a year later, when after so much suffering, when everything should have changed, we are aware that nothing has. One year later, there is no plan to recover what was lost, the Junta de Castilla y León has not assumed responsibilities, nor has it significantly improved the conditions of the forest firefighters or the fire-fighting device, and the Government, faced with such an outrage, continues to look the other way .
A year later, despite the fact that nothing has changed, from the Zamora Rural Coordinator we will continue fighting to change everything.
IF Sierra de la Culebra: One year later, how is the situation?
Analysis of the current situation of the fire in the Sierra de la Culebra one year later.
June 23, 2023 – 09:22
On June 15, 2022, a sixth generation forest fire started in the Sierra de la Culebra , in Zamora, in the municipality of Ferreras de Arriba. This was one of the largest fires in the past year and in recent decades. It affected about 30,000 hectares in the two weeks it lasted. Total extinction occurred several months later.
A year later , in 2023, many have forgotten what a catastrophe it was . Both for the environment and for the inhabitants of the area. That is why it is worth commenting on the situation in the Sierra de Culebra 365 days after it happened.
Neighborhood associations , companies and local entities protest because much of the promised aid has not yet been received or executed . “More has been invested in political marketing than in compensating the affected people,” the Rural Coordinator of Zamora detailed in a recent statement.
The fire in the Sierra de la Culebra, one year later
In August 2022 , the Junta de Castilla y León launched an “environmental and economic recovery plan” for the area for the 13 affected municipalities endowed with 35 million euros. For its part, the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge allocated 2 million euros to emergency forest restoration work in the area affected by the fire in the Sierra de la Culebra.
«When after so much suffering, when everything should have changed, we are aware that nothing has. A year later, there is no plan to recover what was lost , the Junta de Castilla y León has not assumed responsibilities » , they claim from this entity.
According to the association “La Culebra no se calla” , an entity designed to favor those affected by the fires in this environment, it is estimated that more than 80 million euros in losses and more than 300 businesses affected by the fire in the Sierra de la Snake.
What were the most affected sectors?
With regard to agricultural organizations , various entities point out that the committed action plan against fires has not been fulfilled a year later. «Aid has not been established for the affected livestock buildings. Nor have aid been established for the extensive damage that displaced fauna causes in agricultural and livestock activities. This was recently pointed out by the person in charge of the environment of COAG, José Manuel Soto to Agronews Castilla y León.
Image source: Desbroces in Villardeciervos. ARACELI SAAVEDRA. The snake is not silent.
In addition, sectors such as beekeeping have also been affected by the fire in the Sierra de la Culebra. For example, the execution of silvopastoral plans for livestock in the surrounding area is diminishing the living vegetation , essential for bees.
“Villardeciervos beekeeping is in danger due to the clearing of the vegetation saved from the fire, since the Silvopastoral plans are ending the vegetation of ten hectares of Val del Coso, where there are 7 settlements with 350 hives,” they explained in March 2023 from the La Culebra Association does not shut up.
Other forest fires in the Sierra de la Culebra
In the same area of Zamora , in the municipality of Losacio , there was also a large forest fire on July 17 that affected another 35,000 hectares of forest and agricultural land . This fire even had human losses. Four people died, including volunteer residents of the region and a forest firefighter.
These two fires are considered two of the largest losses in terms of area in Castilla y León (and Spain) since there are records.
What is the Sierra de la Culebra and where is it?
The Sierra de la Culebra is a natural environment in the province of Zamora. In fact, it is considered one of the most important mountainous environments in Castilla y León . It has an extension of about 50 km and the highest levels reach 1,300 meters of altitude .
The area is characterized by a very marked relief and orography with mountains, valleys and slopes. Regarding its vegetation , holm oak and oak forests are the most common . Although you can find pine forests and other trees such as chestnut trees.
In terms of biodiversity , the Sierra de la Culebra is known mainly for being one of the most important habitats in the Iberian Peninsula for the conservation of the Iberian wolf. This area is home to one of the most significant and stable populations of wolves in Spain. This is an important tourist attraction.
In addition to its importance for wildlife conservation, the Sierra de la Culebra also offers beautiful natural landscapes and opportunities for rural tourism and outdoor activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and nature photography.
Villanueva de Valrojo, June 3, 2024. The heart of the Sierra de la Culebra continues to hurt almost a year later. His neighbors try to place hope in each blade of grass, at home a sign of new life that arises in the heart of what on this day a year ago became fuel for the flames.
Pain and fear continue to be present in the hearts of a large part of the residents, even with a more than understandable fear when talking about the most devastating fire in the history of Castilla y León and the worst nationwide in the last century. Hours and days of a true nightmare that left behind more than 67,000 affected hectares throughout 52 towns in the Aliste, La Carballeda, Tábara, Tierra de Alba and Benavente and Los Valles regions. The more than 80 million estimated in economic losses hurt and the more than 300 businesses that since then have continued in the fight to stay standing despite the difficulties, the farmers and beekeepers who had to travel tens of kilometers due to the lack of food, as well as the loss of thousands of lives from an environmental diversity that is just beginning to regrow.
A fear that also translated into loss of human life. Daniel Gullón, Victoriano Antón, Eugenio Ratón and Ángel Martín hurt in a memory that makes up the most tragic face of these fires in which, for more than a month and a half, hundreds of media and professionals were used in depth with the invaluable help of the neighbors from the area. Now, one year later, the image is that of hope, the desire for recovery reflected through society and, in particular, the new generations.
While thousands of logs remain already felled waiting to be collected as remains of burned wood for sale, one of them came back to life in Villanueva de Valrojo within the solidarity festival organized by ‘La Culebra no se calla’. Among an amalgamation of stalls, music and exhibitions, activities and workshops, an authentic monument to hope was erected, made up of some 40 children between the ages of two and 12 who deposited their wishes for the future between temperas and watercolors.
A work of art that was born in the mind of the painter Eva María Lobato, based in Rionegro del Puente and for which she had the help of her friend Silvia Iglesias, animation monitor and the Virginian of the organization “La Culebra no He shuts up”.
The tree of hope, one of the activities carried out during the solidarity festival of Villanueva de Valrojo
“With the Sierra Renace tree we wanted to capture the idea of community in which the little ones have been the main protagonists, they have left their mark by filling the tree with colored leaves, each one more creative, which represents the hope of the little ones. to see our environment full of life again because unfortunately they are the ones who will not be able to keep in their memory the splendor of the Sierra as we have known it”.
From the trunk traced on a large format blank canvas (146×114) donated by the painter, dozens of leaves, hearts and owls have “sprouted” giving a new life. Green has returned to the environment based on brushstrokes and strokes of paint, strokes that have drawn the howls of a wolf that once fled to return to the environment where it was born. Like many of these children, La Culebra defines them with and without fire, perhaps now more than ever.
Small creative hands that come to make the commitment that was lacking on many occasions, as well as the firmness in defending an environment that is beginning to recover life little by little. “It is the spitting image of what they hope to inherit and recover and our duty as a society to get it and leave it to them as an inheritance.”
A research team discovers what information wolves share through their feces
In a study carried out in the Sierra de la Culebra (Zamora), 56 volatile chemical compounds were found in the feces that provide information on the social status of the specimen, the sex or if the females are in heat.
MNCN-CSIC/DICYT An investigation by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) and the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) verifies that the chemical compounds found in the feces of the Iberian wolf, Canis lupus signatus , serve as signals that They use to communicate with other wolves. It was already known that these animals use their feces as marks and deposit them in strategic places to mark their territory. Now, thanks to this work, it is also known which chemical compounds in the feces serve to inform other specimens of their sex, social status, or sexual receptivity.
To carry out this study, they have analyzed 94 fresh fecal samples from adult wolves in 5 wild breeding groups in the Sierra de la Culebra, Zamora, and identified a total of 56 lipid compounds. “We have detected a wide variety of compounds, many of which are very volatile and have a very strong odor, which is why they can serve as scent marks,” explains Isabel Barja, a UAM researcher. “These compounds and their relative amount vary between the feces of females in heat compared to non-breeding females or males. In addition, we have identified differences between the feces depending on the season of the year in which they were deposited, which indicates that chemical signals can inform about the sex and reproductive status of individuals”, continues Barja.
Wolves are very territorial animals that live in hierarchical packs in which social status is of great importance, which is why communication is especially relevant. In the feces they also found compounds related to the physiological state and the quality of the individuals. “Given that the feces with the highest load of these compounds were located in strategic places such as crossroads and/or particularly conspicuous and elevated substrates, we consider that, in the case of wolves, in addition to other information, these marks could also warn of the social status of the specimen. Relevant information both inside and outside the group”, points out MNCN researcher José Martín.
“Many species of mammals use chemical signals to communicate and interact with individuals of their own species as well as with other species.” Researcher Pilar López, also from the MNCN, points out, “Knowing the meaning of the chemical signals that wolves use to communicate and interact with other individuals is key to being able to develop effective strategies to protect the wolf populations of the Iberian Peninsula,” she concludes. Lopez