Ibanat, the Balearic nature institute that is part of the environment ministry, reports there having been 77 forest fires in 2015 which affected 108 hectares across the islands.
With the tourism season officially starting on 1 May, so also does the season for increased fire risk. The director-general for emergencies, Pere Perelló, and the director for natural areas, Caterina Amengual, have therefore been chairing meetings for fire prevention and control under the coordinated Infobal plan.
Staffing levels for fire emergencies will be as they were last year. The 112 emergency service will have 26 people on duty each day from June to September. These include managers, telephone personnel and technicians. The Majorca fire service is integrated within the 112 operations.
There will also be personnel from the Operational Emergency Unit. It will have six technicians and seven officers on the islands. Civil Protection, meanwhile, will have 696 volunteers in Majorca, 128 in Minorca, 160 in Ibiza and 39 in Formentera.
Over the next six months, regulations introduced in 2007 will apply. Under these, it is forbidden to light a fire in wooded areas. In addition, authorisation will have to be sought for any fire within 500 metres range of woodland. There is also the usual advice about not discarding cigarettes, not letting off fireworks and not leaving rubbish. For properties in forest environments there need to be firebreaks of a minimum of 25-metre width plus water-supply points.
It is being stressed that, due to the dispersal of properties and high number of people going into forest areas, fire risk in the Balearics is high. There is a general reminder that the 112 telephone service is constantly available for the reporting of any fire.
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