The acting Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Carmen Crespo, has highlighted the maintenance of the repositioning of aerial resources in view of the increased risk of fires due to the continuity of the heat wave, while at the same time calling for “maximum caution” to “try to avoid, as far as possible, that these occur. Crespo, who has valued the “important work being done by the Infoca troops during the heat wave that is affecting Andalusia”. “It is necessary for society as a whole to get involved in the conservation of our natural areas,” he stressed.
The strategic repositioning of the aerial resources of the Andalusian Forest Fire Fighting Service (Plan Infoca), established last week to respond to the rising thermometers, is being maintained these days in view of the weather forecasts, which point to even hotter days. As the Regional Minister explained, “this measure, which is of an extraordinary and temporary nature, will provide a greater capacity to respond to fire outbreaks”. “The risk increases with the temperatures and we must be even more alert if possible”, said Carmen Crespo, who asked the Andalusian people for “responsibility and maximum care when visiting forest areas, where carelessness can cause a fire”. The Minister for Sustainable Development also stressed the importance of “calling the emergency telephone number in the event of any sighting of smoke or flames”.
It is advisable to give as close a location as possible so that the fire-fighting team can find the area quickly. In cases where information is shared via social networks, it is very helpful to geolocate the photographs and include the time the images were taken, as these details allow the Infoca professionals to intuit the scene that the media may encounter when they arrive.
Infoca carried out a total of 48 actions during last month’s heat wave (11-17 June). The warnings were distributed throughout all the Andalusian provinces and referred mainly to forest fires of varying severity, although there were also incidents in agricultural areas.
Fire and vehicle traffic prohibited
The Regional Minister also stressed that during the period of high risk of forest fires (from June to October) it is important to follow the instructions set out in the Infoca Plan, and that the use of fire and the circulation of motor vehicles is prohibited in Andalusia’s forest areas and areas of forest influence (a 400-metre strip around these areas). Therefore, agricultural burning and barbecues are not permitted. “We must do everything we can to prevent fires from starting,” he said.
There are exceptions to this rule, but they must always have the prior approval of the territorial delegation of the corresponding province. These include the preparation of food in children’s camps; the use of distillation boilers, charcoal ovens and piconeo; or barbecues in previously authorised tourist accommodation and rural restaurants.
As for motor vehicles, they are permitted in exceptional cases, such as the use of right-of-way, emergency or fire-fighting services, and authorised ecotourism activities.
The councillor insisted that “vigilance and precaution are fundamental, as well as collaboration in caring for our natural environment and always following the recommendations of professionals”.