FOR­EST FIRE MAX­I­MUM RISK

High tem­per­a­tures and lack of rain­fall lead to red alert

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Glenn Wick­man

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.

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