AS SOUTHERN SPAIN bakes following the driest spring for decades, the Junta de Andalucia has announced a €19.1 million boost to firefighting services.
Ruiz Espejo, delegate of the Junta de Andalucia in Malaga, has stated that although there is no greater risk of forest fires this summer in comparison with 2016, southern Spain is suffering from the highest water deficit recorded since 2009 with reservoirs at 53.6 per cent capacity. This is due to scarce rainfall along the Costa del Sol.
Espejo, alongside environmental delegate Adolfo Moreno, split the Infoca budget into €9.1m for prevention and €10m for extinction. According to their plan, 600 professionals are on stand-by to monitor and tackle fire risks across the Anladucian territory, supported by 12 vehicles and 5 aerial fire-fighting units.
During 2016 the Infoca plan dealt with 90 fires in forest areas, tackling an affected area of 276.68 hectares, in addition to 48 interventions in non-forest land. According to Ruiz Espejo, 96 per cent of the fires were man-made, either through negligence or intent.
Moreno stipulated that a large portion of the prevention budget has been directed into cleaning forest firewalls and composing local forest fire emergency plans (PLEIF).
Both delegates took the opportunity to remind the general public that the use of fire in forest areas is strictly prohibited between June 1 and October 15, however exceptions may be made upon request.