The Infoca Plan, during their meeting on Friday, decided to advance the start date of the high-danger season for forest fires in Spain to Tuesday, May 16.
This decision was made due to the persistently dry spring and high temperatures. Despite the possibility of some rains in the eastern zone, the advisory committee deemed it necessary to take extraordinary measures.
Antonio Sanz, the Minister of the Presidency, Interior, Social Dialogue, and Administrative Simplification, attended the meeting and emphasised the importance of responsible citizen behaviour in forest areas. Sanz urged the public to avoid negligence and promptly report any sightings of smoke or flames to the emergency hotline 112.
The Infoca Plan has demonstrated foresight by increasing its budget for this year to 223 million, a 27 percent increase compared to 2022. Out of this budget, 98 million will be allocated to firefighting efforts, 22 million for infrastructure modernisation, and 9.5 million for reforestation and restoration projects related to major fires like Los Guájares, Sierra Bermeja, Sierra de Mijas, and Almonte.
Sanz highlighted the operational readiness of 17 fire engines (pumpers) for this campaign. Some of the older trucks will be replaced with newer ones, while the remaining units will supplement the existing fleet of 117 vehicles. Additionally, the deployment of a groundbreaking land drone was announced, which is capable of performing certain actions within the fire zone, without endangering the lives of firefighters.
These recent developments build upon earlier announcements, such as the implementation of EsAlert and 112 inverso. The latter is a mass messaging system that sends alerts directly to the mobile phones of affected populations during serious fires, providing instructions for measures like confinement or evacuation in both Spanish and English.
Furthermore, for the second consecutive year, the Advanced Mobile Phone Location (AML) system will be available to accurately locate emergency calls received by the 112 hotline. This system allows the call operator to determine the precise coordinates from which the emergency notification originated.
Last year, the 112 emergency line received a significant number of calls, with a total of 21,728 reports regarding forest fires. So far this year, from January to April, there have already been 6,607 calls made, representing a notable increase of 54.73 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Image Credit: Infoca Plan
September 26, 2023
September 22, 2023