By H. Carter

THIS summer, Balearic forest fire fighters are going to be able to respond to a blaze anywhere in the region within 40 minutes.
The Balearics is now on maximum forest fire alert and yesterday, the Balearic Minister for the Environment, Miguel Angel Grimalt, met members of the various fire fighting units and inspected their latest equipment and aircraft at Son Bonet airfield in Palma.

Grimalt explained that this year, a great deal of time and money has been spent on significantly reducing the time it takes teams of forest fire fighters to deploy to the scene of a forest fire.

Over 400 personnel are involved in forest fire prevention and fighting across the Balearics and this summer, five aircraft and four helicopters are on standby 24-hours a day.

Over nine million euros was spent on improving and updating forest fire fighting equipment over the winter but Grimalt stressed that the general public has a very important role to play because 60 percent of forest fires are caused by human negligence.

He also warned that the risk of forest fire is extremely high this summer because of the extremely dry Spring. “We're keeping a very close eye on the situation,” he said.