The fire unleashed last night of Saturday June 24 found the perfect conditions to become a monster that spread out quickly through the pinewoods of Moguer until reaching the limits of the Natural Park of Doñana in Huelva. The 85 Km2 razed by fire include areas of high ecological value such as the dunes of Aperillo and El Abalario, home to numerous protected species including three territorial females of Iberian lynx and a male. But reptiles, amphibians and non-flying insects, as well as flora, are the ones that have caused the greatest losses by not having the ability to escape the flames with sufficient speed.
Thousands of plants have been reduced to ashes including species of special interest such as the Portuguese Crowberry (Corema album), Prickly Juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa) and Phoenician Juniper (Juniperus phoenicia) in an area that stands out for the richness of its landscapes and its flora.
So, is it worth visiting Doñana after all? The answer is of course yes and we could give you many reasons, but here are the top 5:
- 85 Km2 is a lot of land burned, but they account for only 6.5% of a protected area that covers almost 1,300 Km2 between National Park and Natural Park areas. In addition, there have been intact areas representative of the affected habitat such as the trails of Laguna del Jaral and Ribetehilos where we can still enjoy this sea of pine trees.
- The most visited areas of the surroundings of the National Park: El Acebuche, La Rocina, El Acebrón and El Rocío, have been far from the flames and visits to the restricted area of the Park on 4WD vehicles were resumed as soon as the fire was kept under control.
- The animals that have survived the fire will seek food and shelter in the green areas that have remained in and around the affected area, so a visit to those places will give us greater chances of seeing deer, wild boars, foxes and even … lynx!
- The landscape devastated looks distressing and overwhelming, but it can make us reflect on the consequences of human actions on nature and how forestry should seek a more natural balance in ecosystem processes.
- Finally, if we want to help in the recovery of Doñana there is no better way to do it than reactivating the local economy through ecotourism. Overnight in the local hotels, eating in the local restaurants and making excursions with the tour companies like Wild Doñana, making the decision makers see that we want a natural space free of external threats.