By Humphrey Carter THE Soller tunnel will be closed off to all traffic for two hours tomorrow when it hosts the biggest ever fire training exercise the Balearics has ever seen. The tunnel will be closed for the fire drill between 10am and 12pm and over 50 members of the fire and emergency services will be taking part in the exercise which coincides with a two-day course and convention on tunnel fire prevention currently being held in Palma. The Balearic government's emergency chief, Joan Pol, said yesterday that the exercise is not only being staged to improve the emergency services' fire fighting and response skills, but also to prepare them for the immediate future when there will be a number of new tunnels, mark of which will be longer than one kilometre, in operation. Tomorrow's fire drill is part of a special tunnel fire fighting course being held on the island for the first time and attended by fire fighters from across the island as well as police and Guardia Civil chiefs along with military explosives experts. Tomorrow's drill will also involve the military, who will responsible for staging a head-on collision deep in the Soller Tunnel. One of the vehicles will explode - provoking a gas leak - while two of the passengers in the other vehicle will be trapped inside the wreckage suffering from serious injuries. Two other vehicles carrying six other “victims” will also be involved in the emergency situation. Pol explained that, while the Balearics does not have many tunnels at presents, those that do exist handle very dense traffic such as the Soller road and rail tunnels, the Son Vich tunnel in Calvia and the Genova tunnel. However, over the next few months, the new Port de Soller tunnel will come into operation followed by the new metro and the railway tunnels - part of the latter already being operative. Spain does not yet have a specific set of rules and regulations governing tunnel fire prevention and intervention but Pol said yesterday that tunnels in the Balearics “meet all the current security normatives. “But we will be using the training exercise to perfect and improve our skills while analysing any possible errors so they do not happen in the event of the emergency services having to respond to the real thing,” he added. He admitted that the best way of fighting tunnel fires and accidents is via emergency tunnels but none of the Balearic tunnels have such access and escape routes. Instead, Pol said, the tunnels have been fitted with regular emergency areas fitted with breathing apparatus where victims can seek shelter. “The biggest threat in any tunnel fire is the smoke, which could be toxic, not the flames,” he explained. What is more, fire fighters and emergency crews involved in tomorrow's fire drill will be using the very latest equipment designed to help rescue workers gain access to trapped victims in the event of a tunnel collapse or a multiple pile-up.