Fire chiefs and the environmental protection service confirmed yesterday morning that the bush fire which started at 9am on Friday at the Albufera Natural Park on the outskirts of Alcudia, was under control. The exact extent of the damage remains to be confirmed however, but the authorities are still working on the hypothesis that the blaze was started intentionally. The first of the fires was spotted at 9am, but 15 minutes later a second fire was reported in the same area and the strong winds fuelled the flames as the fire spread very quickly. All of the Can Picafort fire brigade were involved in the fire fighting operation as were the island's fire fighting planes. The fire in some spots raged throughout Friday night, burning through vegetation in the natural park. Once it had been confirmed that the fire had been extinguished, teams of fire investigators were dispatched to the scene in order to ascertain how much damage has been done and over how large an area. Firemen remained at the scene for most of the day in order to confirm that the fire was out and in case the strong winds started to breath new life in to the dying fire. At one point the front of the blaze stretched out across an area of 600 metres and the flames belching from the red hot wall towered over the firemen. The fire was one of the worst to have hit the Balearics this summer and the Balearic Environment Minister, Margalida Rossello, has promised that a unit of fire fighters is to be permanently based at the natural park in the future. The Albufera natural park is one of the most important areas of wetland in Europe for biologists and scientists and the fire has come as a serious blow.

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