THERE will be a total of 350 people dedicated to putting out forest fires in the Balearic Islands this summer, with a budget of 6.4 million euros.
This budget will help pay for the helicopters, the fire brigades, the fire fighting vehicles, the mobile fire watch units, first aid teams, environmental agents as well as management personnel. The first Bell-212 helicopter went to work two weeks earlier than normal this year in Majorca, on 16 April, said the Minister for the Environment, Jaume Font. These fire fighting preventions are much needed on the islands, as last year there were a total of 172 fires, 100 in Majorca, 13 in Minorca and 59 in Ibiza and Formentera. Furthermore, 66 percent of these fires happened during the summer. The first fire watch helicopter went to work on 16 April in Ibiza and Formentera, which is a month and a half earlier than was initially estimated.
In addition, Minorca will start up the helicopter fire watch on 1 June, which has been brought forward by more than two weeks.
The co-ordination and observation plane started work on 11 May, and will finish flying an 20 October.
A new feature of this year's fire fighting services are the video cameras that have been installed in Randa to keep a permanent watch on the situation. Furthermore in Ibiza, the fire brigade services situated at the airport have been improved, with a new office and housing for the fire fighters.
In Majorca there will be a cargo plane, two helicopters and one sea plane combatting forest fires throughout the summer. Whereas Majorca will have available one helicopter, and Ibiza and Formentera 2 cargo planes and one helicopter.