STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
IBIZA is at the greatest risk of forest fires, according to the Balearic Department of the Environment, which has opened its forest fire awareness campaign directed towards residents and tourists .

The hot and dry weather of the last few weeks has meant the islands are at a greater risk of forest fires, according to the Minister for the Environment, Miquel Angel Grimalt.

For this reason the department has launched its campaign to raise awareness of the precautionary measures both residents and tourists can take to reduce the risk of forest fires.

Normally, the high-risk period for forest fires begins around May 1 and lasts until October 15. But the rains of the last couple of months has meant that this has been “delayed a little”, according to Grimalt.

So far this year, the situation has been quite good, said the Minister. There have been 57 fires, the majority of them quite small.
Only three fires have affected more than a hectare of land.
In total, 23 hectares of land have been burnt. The average over the last decade during this same period has been 100 hectares.
Grimalt said that Ibiza was the island most at risk, a situation that is “worrying” due to the large amount of land covered in forest and where many houses are surrounded by trees.

Minorca on the other hand is the island least at risk.
Grimalt was accompanied at the launch of this year's forest fire awareness campaign by the Director General of Biodiversity, Miquel Ferra, and the Director of the Balearic Institute for Nature (Ibanat), Domingo Bonnin.

The campaign is being publicised in four languages, Spanish, Catalan, English and German, and is designed to remind citizens of the importance of the islands' forests and the role they play in keeping the Balearics competitive in the tourist market. “Besides damaging the landscape, fires put people's lives in danger, above all when they break out close to residential areas,” said Grimalt.
The campaign will be publicised in the regional and local press, on television and radio.
It will also be advertised online and 2'000 leaflets will be distributed to hotels close to high-risk areas.

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