Emergency services gathered this morning to take part in the drill / SUR

Forest fire action plan put to the test in Cómpeta drill

The Plan Infoca exercise simulated the activation of level 1 of the Emergency Plan and the evacuation of Cruz del Monte, a residential area home to 70 people

Eugenio Cabezas

Ahead of a summer with a significant risk of forest fire, due to the persistent drought and rising temperatures, the services responsible for tackling them have been preparing for all eventualities. Today (Wednesday 25 May) a major forest fire drill was carried out in Cómpeta, in the Axarquía, the area east of Malaga that has been particularly hard hit by wild fires in recent years.

The manoeuvres organised by the Junta de Andalucía’s Malaga delegation and the environment department took place in the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountains. A total of 113 personnel and 35 emergency vehicles took part in the exercise.

The drill was carried out in accordance with the Infoca plan, which states the need to "periodically check the effectiveness of the established procedures through this type of exercise".

Coordination and communication

"With these drills, the integration of the different plans activated (self-protection plans, municipal emergency plans and the Andalusian Forest Fire Emergency Plan) is checked," the unit explained in a statement.

According to the Junta, "The procedures for activation and mobilisation of operatives are also analysed and the coordination and communication between the organisations involved in an emergency are tested."

The exercise began at 10am with the declaration of a forest fire advancing in a westerly direction towards the Tejarero area and close to Cruz del Monte, located to the north of the A-7207 road. At 11.30am, the unfavourable evolution of the fire made it necessary to activate level one of the Junta's emergency plan for forest fires, due to the possible impact on the approximately 50 houses and 70 residents in the area. At the same time, the Self-Protection Plan of the residential area, the Municipal Emergency Plan (PEM) of Cómpeta and the Local Emergency Plan for Forest Fires (PLEIF) were also activated.

Information in English

The exercise involved the participation of personnel from Emergencias 112 Andalucía (112, Grupo de Emergencias de Andalucía and Protección Civil); Infoca; the 061 Health Emergency Centre; the Provincial Consortium Fire Department; the National Police Unit attached to the Junta de Andalucía; Guardia Civil, Local Police and Red Cross, as well as the Civil Protection volunteer groups of Cómpeta, Torrox, Rincón de la Victoria, Nerja and Frigiliana.

The 112 emergency service also provided information on social media and safety messages in both Spanish and English, given the large English-speaking population in this area. The resources deployed included an Infoca helicopter and a GREA drone.