Thursday, 21 September 2023, 20:52
Nearly 600 wildfires have raged in the Andalusian region this summer burning some 1,700 hectares of land, according to new data issued by the Junta de Andalucía. But the high risk season is not over, with regional minister Antonio Sanz warning that the fire last weekend in Algeciras "is proof we cannot lower our guard".
The region's specialist Plan Infoca brigade was called out to 596 fires throughout the summer which ravaged a total of 16,970 hectares. Infoca firefighters were called out 86 times to incidents outside forest areas - 24 in urban zones and 62 on agricultural land.
By province, in Huelva there have been 116 forest fires and 430.81 hectares affected, in Almería there have been 83 forest fires and 309 hectares affected, in Granada there have been 77 with 209 hectares affected. Meanwhile, in Malaga there have been 74 forest fires and 112.05 hectares affected, while in Jaén there have been 67 and 14.84 hectares affected, in Córdoba there have been a total of 62 forest fires with 48.85 hectares affected. In Seville Plan Infoca has tackled 62 forest fires and there have been 218.84 hectares affected while in Cádiz there have been 55 forest fires, with 353 .55 hectares affected.
Major emergency drill
At a meeting with provincial representatives of the Junta in Ayamonte on Wednesday 20 September, Sanz also announced that at the end of October, the so-called RespuestA-23 will take place. Sanz described it as "the third major regional emergency drill that we have been carrying out annually in the region".
Cádiz and Malaga will lead the exercise, which aims to test the coordination and response in the event of a major emergency such as an earthquake, hazardous incidents, oil spills and forest fires.
The province of Cádiz will have three serious risk scenarios; a fire in a hazardous substances tank, a forest fire and an oil spill in the Bay of Algeciras. In Malaga, an oil spill scenario will test the response of emergency crews in the municipality of Estepona, while a hypothetical earthquake emergency is planned for Marbella.
Andalucía is one of the regions with the highest risk of earthquakes, although on a global scale the risk is moderate. "These are major emergencies that we hope will never happen, but the best way to be safe is to test ourselves even in the worst-case scenario," Sanz said.
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