By Humphrey Carter
THE risk of forest fires in the Balearics this summer is relatively low according to the World Wildlife Fund's “fireometer”.
The WWF's Spanish affiliate Adena yesterday unveiled the results of its annual forest fire study and, while Extremadura, Galicia and Madrid have been branded high risk zones this summer, the Balearics, along with Murcia, are the two zones facing the lowest risks in Spain with a 22 percent probability. The annual study involves the local authorities' capacity to respond to a forest fire and measures taken during the winter to reduce the risk, such as clearing scrub land and launching awareness campaigns. WWF/Adena revealed yesterday that nearly half of the large fires, 47 percent, are started intentionally while 15 percent remain a mystery to the experts. However, despite there being more effective measures to fight forest fires which have led to fires being controlled faster and 99.8 percent of blazes being contained before they can grow in to a large fire, since 1998 the area of land destroyed has continued to increase. This summer the strictest set of forest fire prevention rules have been introduced in the Balearics and harsh fines are going to be handed down to anyone caught breaking the rules. But the WWF said yesterday that all areas of Spain should follow the Balearics' lead as only 12 percent of the country's forest are “properly managed,” the WWF claimed.

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