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Wildfires Are Burning Famous Rock Climbing Areas in Spain

One of the world's most popular rock climbing sectors, Oliana, is engulfed in flames

Wildfires in Spain are destroying land and forcing resident to flee during one of Europe’s worst heat waves. Over 50,000 acres of land have been burned and the World Meteorological Organization warned that all of Spain faced “extreme fire risk.”

Top American climber Jonathan Siegrist posted on social media today that some of the world’s most famous rock climbing areas around Oliana are in the middle of those fires. Yes, fire can damage rock and hardware.

Via @jonathansiegrist

Hundreds of firefighters are working across several regions including to control the flames. Officials in Catalonia, a popular climbing area in the northeast, said that emergency services are struggling to contain more than 35 fires.

A wildfire between Peramola and Oliana, has burned over 80 hectares of woodland, according to provisional data from authorities on Monday morning. The fire broke on Sunday in the Roc de Rombau area, situated at an altitude of 991 metres. Famous climbs located there include La Dura Dura 5.15c, Papi Chulo 5.15, Mind Control 5.14d and Fish Eye 5.14d.

The heat is breaking temperature records with Valencia Airport reporting 39 C, which surpassed records set in 2017. In Madrid, temperatures are above 40 C in what the State Meteorological Agency said was the earliest major heat wave in over 40 years.

“What we’re witnessing today is unfortunately a foretaste of the future,” Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, told the Independent. Johan Rockström, director of the German government-funded Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said the scenes in Europe are “the new normal.”

France and the U.K. are also experiencing heat waves this week. Follow Siegrist on Instagram below for updates as they happen.