It has been almost a year since one of the most devastating wildfires broke out in the Sierra Bermeja mountain range of Malaga. The fire was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Its veracity and rapid spread destroyed 10,000 hectares and made the task of controlling it a week’s work and it was not completely extinguished for 40 days.
The fire also took its toll on those who lived near or were close to Sierra Bermeja; thousands were evacuated from surrounding villages. One such victim was the Adana (Association for the Rights of Abandoned Animals) of Estepona, a dog shelter whose facilities are located in the mountains.
Quantify the effects
The damage to the shelter was notable, although the fire had spread around the facilities rather than through them.
In their September 2021 newsletter, Adana said they suffered “huge damage to the outer perimeter fence”, that their two-kilometer pipe from the mountain’s water source had “evaporated”. and that their storage container unit, which had spare pumps, dog crates and other items, had “burned to the ground”.
But these items listed were just the tip of the iceberg. “We estimate that there was 25,000 euros in damage,” Adana president Susie Brown told SUR in English. She could only make this estimate because they were asked, immediately after the fire, what they had lost. “How do you remember and how do you know everything that was in the storage units?”
Back to normality
For Adana, getting back up and running wouldn’t be easy or cheap. “We didn’t receive payment from the insurance company, so we had to call everyone in and get our story out,” Brown explained. Adana’s situation quickly spread online, mainly due to the sharing of video footage of the fire around their facilities on social media. “The public and the local community have been absolutely fantastic. Great people have come to donate food, blankets and beds; it has helped us,” she explained. “But we had to pay the bill; we sold everything to keep this place going.”
Despite struggling to deal with the damage, Adana staff and volunteers wasted no time. “We had over 100 dogs that we needed to get back into, so we had to get back to a sense of normalcy very quickly,” Brown explained.
Inside, the shelter was a mess. “It was horrible, it was fire damaged, black and it stank. It took us a week, with about 20 of us, cleaning and painting around the clock,” she said. Explain. But suddenly, the president of Adana considered that the team handled the situation “in a very professional way” and “a few real soldiers came out of the woods”.
Once Adana restored their water supply, cleaned their shelter, got their electricity back and received needed supplies, the dogs were able to return no more than a week after the worst of the fire was extinguished. “It was a miracle. We were determined not to let it beat us,” Brown said.