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Man admits to starting Mallorca blaze with barbecue

At least 700 people had to be evacuated from the village of Estellencs

The Civil Guard on Monday evening arrested a 44-year-old man in connection with the wildfire that has been raging through the Unesco World Heritage-status Tramontana mountains in Mallorca for the past five days.

Ignacio G. H. told investigators that he started the fire accidentally after lighting a barbecue in a shopping cart.

The fire was finally declared contained at 11am on Tuesday morning after scorching 2,000 hectares of land and causing 700 people to be evacuated from the village of Estellencs.

Police initially accused Ignacio G. H.’s brother, Samuel, of starting the fire by burning scrub on the farmland property he owns in the municipality of Andratx, where the barbecue was held. The day after the cook-out, believing the embers had cooled, Ignacio G. H. disposed of them on dry grass.

Two other people who attended the barbecue have also been provisionally charged over the fire, the most destructive to have occurred in Mallorca in two decades.