INFOCA, the Junta de Andalucía’s fire prevention and control department have called the end of the fire season on Tuesday to the dismay of its workers.
With dry and dusty terrain and drought like conditions still exhibited throughout Axarquia, Infoca has been reduced to minimum staff thanks to the official end of the “fire season” on October 15.
Fire fighting helicopters, aircraft and almost 50% of the ground crews are relieved of their roles and the aircraft are flown to Seville and put into storage, despite the ongoing threat of wild fires.
The issue, according to the Junta seems to be that they simply cannot keep the fire fighters on as the majority of them are on temporary contracts.
Unions representing Infoca are pushing for the fire season to be extended to the October 31 and for more permanent contracts to be issued, citing changes in the climate necessitating more personnel.
Carlos Maldonado, union representative of Infoca explains, “The forecast for this autumn is that it is going to be dry with warm temperatures; very little rainfall, meaning that natural fire fuel (vegetation) in forests will be abundant, making the risk of fire rather high still.”