JANUARY has been one of the craziest months on record weather-wise in the Valencia region.
Historic low temperatures reaching -26°C in Vistabella – the coldest ever in the region – and very heavy snowfall in inland Valencia and Castellon provinces caused by the ‘Filomena’ storms gave way to the hottest day in January since 1982 last week in many areas of Alicante Province, with thermometers hitting 27°C on Thursday.
The last weekend of the month then registered gale-force winds all along the Mediterranean coast, which, following on from the dryness caused by the heatwave, triggered the first forest fires of the year.
The worst blaze broke out yesterday (Sunday January 31) in the Cotes Altes area in Cocentaina (inland Alicante Province), spreading also to Alcoi and burning approximately 20 hectares of abandoned agricultural land.
The flames also forced the temporary closure of the Ontinyent-Alcoi train line.
Valencia Province did not escape unscathed, as fires were also registered in Bugarra (Los Serranos) – which required the intervention of water planes – and in the Pobla del Duc (Vall d’Albaida) area.
The authorities remind all landowners throughout the Valencian Community that burning farming or garden refuse is strictly prohibited under the current weather conditions.
Gusts of up to 100 kph also caused many other problems leading to call-outs for the fire department, including fallen trees, fences, and billboards.
Luckily no personal injuries were reported.
Forecasts suggest that February should be more normal in this regard, with temperatures slightly above average at the beginning of the month but without sudden changes.