This is the first meeting of this technical body since the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) assumed the responsibilities for forest fires.
The meeting was chaired by the general director of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification, Jorge Marquínez, and was attended by representatives of the fire prevention and extinction services of all the Autonomous Communities and the General State Administration, as well as representatives of the Military Emergency Unit, the Air Force, Civil Protection, the Civil Guard and the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency.
Firstly, a review of forest fire statistics from last year and the elapsed period of this 2020 has been made. Thus, in 2019 the number of claims reached 10,883 (89% of the decade average), affecting 83,962 69 hectares (85% of the decade average). So far in 2020 (with statistical data as of April 30), 2,032 claims have occurred, affecting 12,947 hectares. Both 2020 values represent half of the average values of the last decade. A decline that is largely explained by some
favorable weather conditions and confinement due to the alarm state.
In relation to the health crisis, the plan against the coronavirus of the device for the prevention and extinction of forest fires of the Sub-Directorate General of Forest Policy and Fight against Desertification of MITECO has been shared with the members of the Committee. This plan includes the operational guidelines to resume the support service to the autonomous communities in the area of prevention and extinction of forest fires, both in the territory and in the Coordination Center of National Information on Forest Fires (CCINIF), taking into account all the pertinent hygienic and sanitary measures, and in coordination with the Occupational Risk Prevention services of the different companies and organizations involved.
State and autonomous community media
Likewise, at the meeting the fire managers of the autonomous communities presented the main novelties of the different extinguishing devices in their territories, while from MITECO, for their part, the regulations and the details of the deployment of the means of state extinction. The competence in extinguishing forest fires belongs to the autonomous communities, but the State has a national operation of extinguishing forest fires, with a significant deployment of aerial means and fire fighting brigades, which provide support to all the autonomous communities in this task.
Thus, during the period from June 1 to October 31, the device will have 73 aerial means (18 amphibious aircraft with a 5,500-liter discharge capacity, 8 4,500-liter bomber helicopters, 10 ground-based cargo aircraft of 3,100 liters, 6 amphibious aircraft of 3,100 liters and 19 transport helicopters from the 10 Forest Fire Reinforcement Brigades (BRIF) with a discharge capacity of 1,500 liters). It also has 4 surveillance helicopters and 4 remote-controlled civil aircraft (RPAS) and 7 mobile analysis and planning units (UMAP), to support extinction tasks.
Also like last year, MITECO has signed an agreement with the European Commission to provide air support, within the rescEU Transition program, with two amphibious aircraft.