Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:48
The start of the extreme risk season for forest fires has been brought forward to 16 May in Andalucía, instead of 1 June.
The decision was made at a meeting of the advisory committee of Plan Infoca, the Junta's specialist wildfire prevention and fire fighting brigade, and the regional government minister Antonio Sanz on Friday, 12 May. The Junta also reminded the public about the ban on bonfires and barbecues until at least 15 October.
Sanz said the measures were approved because "despite the fact that we have forecasts of some possible rain in the eastern area, the dry spring and high temperatures are not giving any respite".
Sanz urged the public to follow the measures: "They will come to nothing if the public do not help us". He said people must “adopt a responsible attitude” in forest areas, avoid acting negligently, and phone the 112 emergency telephone number in the event of any sighting of smoke or flames.
It comes as the Plan Infoca budget for 2023 has been beefed up to 223 million, 27% more than in 2022. A total of 17 new fire engines will also come into service in Andalucía, replacing those in poorer condition and adding to 117 units already in operation.
There will also be a ground 'drone', the first of its kind in Spain, capable of entering the fire zone to help extinguish the blaze, without putting the lives of the firefighters at risk.
The new features join those already announced in recent weeks, such as EsAlert or "reverse 112", a tool that allows mass messages to be sent directly to the mobile phones of the population near to a serious fire. The messages will be sent out in Spanish and English.
There were a total of 21,728 calls to the 112 emergency line last year to advise about forest fires. There have been 6,607 calls from January to April this year, 54.73% more than in the first four months of 2022.
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