The worst forest fire to have hit the Balearics this year was yesterday evening said to be under control. The fire at Calas de Mallorca near Manacor is thought to have been started by a bolt of lightning during the fierce storm in the early hours of Friday morning. The Balearic Ministry for the Environment confirmed last night that the blaze, which destroyed at least 325 hectares of woodland, was brought under control at 5.30pm. But the last of the fire crews are not expected to be withdrawn from the fire zone until this morning after having kept a close watch on the smouldering area overnight. The fire was first spotted at 11.30 on Friday and it spread quickly, fuelled by winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour at times. A campsite in the area between Cales de Mallorca and Porto Cristo, where a number of youngsters had set up camp, was evacuated as there were fears that a change in wind direction could complicated the situation and a number of households were put on standby should the need to evacuate arise. A number of walkers were also traced by the Guardia Civil and quickly taken to an area of safety. The damage of the fire is serious according to local biologists and the area will have to be replanted as there are doubts it will be able to regenerate itself. The exact cause of the blaze has yet to be confirmed. hile the storm is being considered, so too is the possibility it was caused by a passing driver tossing a lit cigarette out of the window. Whatever the cause, all of Majorca's forest fire fighting strength, including all the Dromadair fire fighting planes and the Pollensa-based Canadair plane, was involved in battling the blaze which took nearly 26 hours to bring under control.

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