Pedro Sanchez in Teresa. / PHOTO: DAMIAN TORRES / VIDEO: EP

Areas of Spain affected by major wildfires are to be classified as disaster zones

The plan is expected to be approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced during a visit to the area of Alta Palencia devastated by a fire which began a week ago

JOAQUÍN BATISTA Madrid

Municipalities in Spain which are affected by major wildfires are to be classified as disaster zones, which in theory should make it easier for them to access government funds for reconstruction.

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced this on a visit on Monday to the area of Alta Palancia affected by the fire which began there a week ago. He said the plan is due to be approved at an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet, and it means that all areas of the country which have suffered major wildfires this summer, including Bejís and Vall d’Ebo, will be included.

Sánchez referred to the psychological impact that wildfires can have on people, especially the loss of property and biodiversity. He also thanked all the forces involved in fire-fighting work, and said the effects of climate change and "the formation of new-generation fires force us to think about how we can prevent them”.

The visit was carried out amid extremely strict security, with dogs to check cars in the vicinity and the reporters’ bags. Even the bags of ice used to cool drinks for members of the media were checked by the police.

Also taking part in the visit were the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, the government delegate Pilar Bernabé, and the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande Marlaska, officials from the fire-fighting forces, the president of the Diputación de Castellón and the mayor of Teresa.