Palma.—Yesterday, the Director General for the Environment,Environmental Education and Climate Change, Neus Lliteras announced that this year, Ibanat, the Balearic nature Institute which is responsible for coordinating the battle against forest fires, will have seven new special multipurpose vehicles.

Four of the seven vehicles and customised land Rovers which can carry seven-strong units of fire fighters as well as fire fighting equipment.
The other three are slightly smaller off road fire trucks for teams of three.
Last year was the worst year for forest fires in the past two decades, and for the second consecutive years, Ibiza was worst hit hence why the island will this year have a special tractor which is designed for either erecting and pulling down fire breaks.

The local government has invested nine million euros in this year's forest fire campaign which began on 1 May and will continue until the middle of October at the earliest, depending on the weather conditions.

Lliteras explained that this year's Ibanat force consists of 25 fire fighting vehicles, nine helicopters and aircraft, 22 control towers and a total of 350 fire fighters, not to mention the Canadair fire fighter planes based in the Port of Pollensa and the support of the local fire brigades if and when needed along with the army's special emergency unit which is also on stand by to be deployed to any disaster zone in Spain.

11 years in jail
Lliteras said yesterday that the main aim this year has been to modernise and consolidate the forestry service and improve our capabilities and fighting forest fires. “We can never let our guard down during the Summer. While prevention is always the best solution, sometimes it is not possible, so we have to be ready to react as quickly as possible,” the Director General said.The biggest problem is arson with many of last year's fires having been started on purpose.One person is now on trial for one of the large fires in Ibiza and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to 11 years in jail.

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