The Institut Balear de la Natura, or Ibanat, which is part of the Ministry of the Environment & Territories, has been given 5 new B3 helicopters to replace the old Sokol model, three for Majorca, one for Ibiza and one for Minorca.
The B3s have less cargo capacity than the Sokol, but they are more modern, faster and can act in pairs, so they can drop more water in less time. The B3s have a capacity of 910 litres, are fully loaded in about 15-20 seconds and can manoeuvre in places that the Sokol couldn't.
The B3s also have three Air Tractor planes, 2 in Mallorca, which also cover Minorca and 1 in Ibiza; a Gavina coordination plane and the Canadair of Port de Pollença. Air Tractor aircraft have a capacity of 3,000 litres.
The Minister for the Environment & Territories, Miquel Mir, General Director of Spain, Naturals & Biodiversity, Llorenç Mas and Ibanat Manager, Joan Ramon, visited the Son Bonet aerodrome on Wednesday to see the helicopters in operation against fires.
“So far this year, fire has affected a total of 33 hectares, compared to 100 hectares at the same time last year but statistics can change from one day to the next,” said Minister Mir.
He highlighted the new measure that prohibits controlled burning within 50 meters of forest land, stressed the need for a sense of responsibility and prevention and reminded home owners who live on forest land that they must create a 30-metre protection strip around their property.
Minister Mir also learned first-hand about the measures that are being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the Ibanat facilities in Son Bonet, to guarantee the health safety of workers.
Minister Mir also recognised the work of 112, Civil Protection Workers and Palma Firefighters.