Forest fire. Credit: gilitukha

Catastrophic fire in Spain

16 July 2005 00:00 UTC

Forest fire. Credit: gilitukha
Forest fire. Credit: gilitukha

Catastrophic fire in Spain in July 2005.

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Published on

16 July 2005

By Jochen Kerkmann, Alexander Jacob and Jose Prieto (EUMETSAT)

During July 2005 a massive fire destroyed vast tracts of pine forest in the Guadalajara Province (central Spain). The fire began on 16 July, when a barbecue in a pine forest went out of control. The fire was then spread by strong winds across a very dry landscape. Sadly, 11 volunteer firefighters died tackling the blaze which, at its height, threatened to engulf the nearby villages of Selas and Ablanque. Firefighters succeeded in creating a fire-break to stop its spread, backed up by water-bombing aircraft.

The Meteosat-8 images below show the situation on 16 July at 17:00 UTC, a few hours after the outbreak of the fire. The fires (hot spots) can be seen in the IR3.9 image as red spots (Figure 1). A special enhancement has been used to identify the hottest pixels within the image.

The animated gif (Figure 2) shows that the fire started at around 13:00 UTC. The animation also shows the presence of several smaller fires in Spain. The HRV image (Figure 3) shows the spectacular smoke plume from the fire, which crosses northern Spain and reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

Finally, the fires and the smoke can also be detected in the two RGB composites (Figure 4 and 5). They also show convective storms over the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa and thin dust over the western Mediterranean Sea.

Met-8, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-8 Channel 04 (IR3.9), 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC.
Catastrophic fire in Spain
Figure 2: Meteosat-8 Channel 04 (IR3.9) animated gif, 16 July 2005, 12:00–18:00 UTC
Met-8, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC
Figure 3: Meteosat-8 Channel 12 (HRV), 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC. Animation (13:00–18:00 UTC)
Animation (12:00-20:45 UTC)
Met-8, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC
Figure 4: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite NIR1.6, VIS0.8, VIS0.6, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC. Close-up look
Met-8, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC
Figure 5: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite IR3.9, NIR1.6, VIS0.6, 16 July 2005, 17:00 UTC. Close-up look