An 80-year-old man was arrested for throwing stones at a helicopter that was fighting a wildfire. According to a Reuters report, the fire has been burning on the Spanish island of Tenerife for nearly a week.
The stones hit the blades of the helicopter, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing at a nearby football pitch, the mayor’s office of the town of Guimar on the Canary Islands said in a statement.
The rock-thrower is the owner of a reservoir from which the helicopter was retrieving water to drop on the fire, police said.
“We have one less helicopter because someone threw a stone and rendered it inoperative, due to the impact on the tail rotor,” said Rosa Davila, head of Tenerife’s local government.
The Canarian Weekly published helicopter video illustrating the fires’ intensity:
The Canary Islands government has requested the assistance of three seaplanes from mainland Spain, which were flying from Malaga to help fight the fires. Officials were concerned that this could become an emergency not seen on the island for more than 16 years, since the fires of 2007.
Local farmers have protested at the use of scarce water resources to fight the fire, but Davila said that all the water used would be replaced.
The fire, which started on August 15, has burned almost 15,000 hectares (about 37,000 acres) of woodland within the national park surrounding the Mount Teide volcano, Spain’s highest peak. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
Editor’s note: Certain members of a California IMT may recall a hostile landowner on a fire in Montana a few years ago, who went ballistic when a helicopter was dripping from his pond. … Anyone know how they might plan to replace that water they are borrowing from farmers’ ponds?