After the inauguration of the new railway service in Extremadura, King Felipe VI has subsequently traveled to the region of Las Hurdes (Cáceres) to learn about the effects of the fires in several municipalities in this area, which was the first to burn a week, and where more than 3,000 hectares have been burned, within the spiral of fires that has shaken the province of Cáceres in recent days and that has spread to the province of Salamanca (9,000 hectares). This serious fire -motivated by lightning- has been stabilized precisely this Monday, although pending its evolution and the residents of Ladrillar, Riomalo de Arriba, Aceitunilla, Cabezo, Batuequilla, La Horcajada and Las Mezas have been able to return to their homes hours before of the King’s arrival after seven days away from their homes.

Felipe VI -who was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez- arrived by helicopter at the town of Vegas de Coria minutes before 8:00 p.m., where he was received with applause and cheers by the residents gathered before the King established a first contact with the mayors of four towns (Ladrillar, Nuñomoral, Casares de Hurdes and Pinofranqueado), as well as with the president of the association of Las Hurdes and with the president of the ADIC-Hurdes Local Action Group. He also met with those responsible for the Advanced Command Post and with members of the firefighting teams that have worked in the area, whose flames reached the province of Salamanca.

Later, a smaller entity of 284 inhabitants, belonging to the Hurdano municipality of Casar de Palomero, arrived at the neighboring Azabal, where it arrived at approximately 8:30 p.m., where it was also enthusiastically received by the numerous neighbors gathered. In this district, he had a meeting with the older people relocated by the fires in the Madre Francisca residence, who told him about the “terrible experience” they had gone through. Later, he held a meeting with those responsible for the socio-economic fabric of the region, who have also suffered from the economic point of view the repercussions of the fires due to the suspicion of tourists. The meeting was attended by the person in charge of the Hospitality network, owners of rural houses and apartments, restaurant owners and even a beekeeper, whose bees have been burned. Despite the fire, he is confident of saving the summer season, the most important of the year, and the King’s visit, they are confident, will help.

The King wanted to get closer to these people whom he met precisely, just two months ago, during the official visit he made with Doña Leticia to this region 100 years after Alfonso XIII toured these lands on horseback and on foot. The parents of the current King did it in 1988. And if Felipe VI, on May 12, who came to sleep in the Hospedería de las Hurdes Reales, found a region that had nothing to do with the poverty that his great-grandfather found a A century earlier, this July 18, the King wanted to check his state of mind first-hand after suffering episodes of nerves and much concern in the face of uncontrolled fire. A region, moreover, that bases a good part of its economy on tourism, now threatened.

Some of them, as has been pointed out, already met the King two months ago now. So, they were full of optimism before the opening of a summer season full of good prospects, once the restrictions of the pandemic had passed in the last two years.

Conchi, the owner of a pastry shop, or Isabel, a cleaner, have already received him enthusiastically in spring. Now, with quite a few more degrees of temperature in the environment, they were hopeful again after days of much suffering. The improvement in the evolution of the fire came on the same day as the royal visit. The worst seems to be over.

In this sense, from the Federation of Rural Tourism of Extremadura (Fextur) they wanted to launch a message of “calm and tranquility” this Monday both to the media and to tourists and have assured that no major cancellations are taking place. “The season continues, calls continue to be received to make reservations. Extremadura, Hurdes, Jerte, Monfragüe… continue to offer beautiful places to enjoy a vacation,” they point out. And they warn that the areas affected by the fires are “a small part of them”, while the cancellations that may have occurred have been minimal and localized.

For this reason, the King’s visit has been very well received and valued in the area and, specifically, in the tourism sector. The objective is that tourists do not get scared and keep their vacations scheduled in the north of Extremadura. And who better to express it visually than the image of Felipe VI sending out a message of calm, tired of “the excess of messages and images that can dissuade people from coming to Extremadura”. They believe that this visit by Felipe VI will be very important to improve the image of northern Extremadura after the concentration of fires in recent days: “We have the establishments prepared as they were 10 days ago.”

Conforms to The Trust Project criteria