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THE Balearics have one of the highest risk ratings for forest fire because of failure to manage its forests, according to an index compiled by the World Wildlife Fund/Adena.

The islands have a rating of just 1.7 out of ten for management of woods and green zones, but 8.3 out of ten for the risk of fires.
This puts it in fourth place after Valencia, Extremadura and Asturias, who all had more than nine points.
The islands scored higher than the national average in fire risk.
The national average for forest management was 2.9, and fire risk was 7.1. The index drawn up by WWF/Adena takes into account the area of woodland which had a forest management plan.

It revealed that only Catalonia, Navarre and La Rioja had a management plan for more than 30 per cent of its woodland areas, which was considered reasonable.

Most of the other regions had a plan for only 15 per cent of wooded areas. In the Balearics, there are only specific plans for managing and cleaning 7.5 per cent of the islands' forests (16'705 hectares out of 223'601 hectares).

The report said that the Balearics spent 52.5 euros per inhabitant per year on forest management in 2003-2004, which was awarded five points out of ten.

Forest fires caused losses of more than 63 million euros in the period 1991 to 2005 according to the WWF/Adena report.
Most of the forest fires are caused by carelessness, such as lighted cigarette butts or broken glass, or fires for burning rubbish or farm waste which get out of control, the report said. Barbecues and open fires are banned in woodland areas, even where there are designated picnic zones, during the summer.

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