The delegate for Sustainable Development, Raquel Espín, and the delegate for Health, Juan de la Cruz Belmonte, chaired this morning the meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Infoca Plan, which puts an end to the period of high risk of fires in Almería. The Director of the Provincial Operational Centre of the Infoca Plan, Rafael Yebra, and representatives of other administrations that form part of the Plan in the province also took part in the meeting. The meeting began with a minute’s silence in memory of Carlos Martínez, the Roquetas de Mar forest firefighter who died in the Sierra Bermeja fire in Málaga.
The results of this year’s Plan Infoca Advisory Committee are reflected in different aspects. The high-risk period for forest fires has had to be extended due to increasingly adverse weather conditions. It lasted from 1 June to 31 October. Up to that time, 90 fires have been recorded, of which 79 were outbreaks and eleven others were fires. In terms of the number of hectares, the figure was 1,180.54 (214.06 hectares of woodland and the rest of scrubland). It should also be borne in mind that three of the four fires with more than 10 hectares occurred during the low risk period (Níjar on 18 January, Berja on 22 January and Castro de Filabres on 1 February).
Raquel Espín recalled that they have had an annual budget of 19 million euros, 9 million for prevention and 10 million for extinction. With regard to the vehicles being used in the province, the Sustainable Development delegate explained that there were 14, “twelve fire engines and two fire engines, four of which have been renewed, which means increased safety for everyone”. A meteorology and transmissions unit has also been added.
In terms of personnel, 581 workers have worked on the Infoca Plan, 99 of whom have been new hires. In terms of aerial resources during the high-risk period, there were four aircraft; three helicopters, one in Serón, another in Alhama de Almería, a third in Vélez Blanco, as well as a cargo plane on the ground. The delegate for Sustainable Development recalled that “this year the Serón helicopter has remained operational outside the high-risk period”.
In terms of infrastructure, the province has three Forest Defence Centres, CEDEFO, in Alhama de Almería, Serón and Vélez Blanco, a Provincial Operational Centre, a landing strip for cargo planes on the ground in the municipality of Gérgal and 10 fixed surveillance points. In addition, two sub-centres are planned, one in Laujar, which is in the contracting phase, and another in Abla, which is in the planning approval phase.
Another novelty has been the celebration of the final days of the European Open2preserve project, which represents a great contribution of livestock farming to the management of forests and fire extinction.
The meeting of the Advisory Committee is a meeting with all the organisations involved in the management of the emergency in the event of a forest fire. It is an essential meeting to ensure that there is good coordination between all the bodies involved in providing a response to society in the event of a fire.