FOREST FIRE MAXIMUM RISK
High temperatures and lack of rainfall lead to red alert
THE regional government has reinforced the forest fire prevention and extinction forces ready for the summer, which has been classed as high risk due to the extremely dry condition of mountains and forest areas. Nearly 1,000 emergency personnel including firefighters, forest fire brigades, environmental agents and vigilance units are now operative throughout Alicante province - with two extra brigades and increased working hours among this year's novelties.
In addition, rising numbers of volunteers are offering their services to keep watch over high-risk areas this summer.
As reported last week by CBNews, the Generalitat has increased this year's fire prevention budget by 21%.
The total amount reserved for forest fire prevention in the region for this year now totals ¤ 82 million.
In Alicante province alone, 856 agents will keep watch over our mountains, including 736 regular firefighters and 120 dedicated exclusively to forest areas.
Forest brigades are based in Jijona, Torre de les Maçanes, Parcent, Benissa, Benimantell, Vall d'Alcalà, L'Orxa, Font Roja, Villena and Tibi.
Three new fire engines and 4x4 vehicles have been purchased this year, plus they have the support of aerial teams.
Energency department director general José María Ángel revealed that, in addition to increasing the force, his department aims to reorganise the department 'to establish a rapid-response system'.
CROP FIRE IN CALLOSA
A forest fire devoured eight hectares of green land, mainly crops, in Callosa d'en Sarrià on Tuesday morning.
The burning of garden refuse by a farmer and which got out of hand is believed to have been the cause of the blaze, that broke out at 11.00.
Flames spread rapidly through a ravine due to the strong winds that whipped the area, according to Mayor Josep Saval.
The blaze was brought under control by Tuesday evening, although a fire brigade remained in place until Wednesday morning to dampen down the area and prevent the flames from reigniting.
The thick column of black smoke could be seen from a distance and required five aerial teams, three land vehicles, four forest fire-fighter units and Local Police and Guardia Civil detachments to bring it under control.