The Civil Guard and Civil Protection focus their efforts against forest fires on prevention and subsequent investigation

Collaboration with other institutions and support for the Autonomous Communities are key to success in the fight against forest fires

Civil Protection presents an informative video that has been disseminated through the internet and social networks and is available on its website and on the twitter @ proteccioncivil account

The human factor is behind most of the forest fires that occur in Spain. The number of detainees or investigated for this type of crime has increased this year by 90%, with a total of 178 people involved in the fires

Recommendations to citizens and the collaboration of the media are an effective tool in fire prevention

The Director General of Civil Protection and Emergencies of the Ministry of Interior, Alberto Herrera, accompanied by the Colonel of the Headquarters of the Seprona, Francisco Monedero, has presented a video at the headquarters of the Department, which is part of the audiovisual campaign initiated by the Directorate General Civil Protection and Emergencies on the Internet and social networks to reach citizens, in a simple and direct way, a series of recommendations with self-protection measures that allow them to react in a responsible manner, without risking their lives or those of others, before the different risks.

For his part, Colonel Monedero has exposed the work carried out by the Civil Guard in matters of prevention and subsequent investigation of forest fires.

Alberto Herrera thanked the work of the media in the dissemination of preventive measures such as this video that has been disseminated by the Directorate General through its twitter account and its website, along with the Press Releases.

When half of the Campaign is being reached, we want to remember the importance of collaboration with other organizations, especially with the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, in support of the Autonomous Communities in the fight against these types of accidents great environmental importance and in the safety of people.

The State complements the action that corresponds to the Autonomous Communities by virtue of their competences in Civil Protection and forest management, providing means of state ownership, and facilitating the incorporation of means of other Administrations, as well as international assistance, when this is necessary.

Prevent citizens from putting their lives in danger by accessing via communication to places affected by a forest fire, the evacuation of people who are caught by the flames in their homes and the insurance of their properties, are some of the work that leads out the Civil Guard in favor of the citizen, in close collaboration with the different civil protection actors.

The councils launched from Civil Protection and the Civil Guard are key to avoiding forest fires, and if they have occurred, to minimize risks to citizenship.

Recommendations to prevent the risk of forest fires

  • Keep in mind that high temperatures favor the risk of forest fires. Extreme precautions.
  • Pay special attention to the rules of the Autonomous Community on fire prevention and authorized periods for burning stubble.
  • Avoid throwing cigarettes, garbage and, especially, glass bottles that make a magnifying glass effect with the sun. Negligence causes a lot of forest fires.
  • It is forbidden to light fires or fires in the mountains and nearby land.
  • Camp only in authorized areas, since they have protective measures against a possible fire and evacuation is easier.
  • If you discover the fire at its beginning, notify 112 immediately.
  • If you are surprised by a fire, avoid entering the forest or mountain. Always go through high visibility and fuel free areas.
  • In the event of a forest fire emergency, always follow the instructions of the competent authorities.

A large part of forest fires originate in the human factor

It should not be forgotten that from the study and analysis of the data of the last 15 years it has become clear that the majority of forest fires are linked to the human factor, either by the work of an arsonist or derived from negligence in the use of fire, the incidence of natural causes being very small or almost zero. Of the claims known to the Civil Guard in the first six months of this year 2019, the human factor was behind more than 98% of the total. Police investigation, from the moment the forest fire occurs, is key to the success of the fight against this criminal phenomenon.

If we take as a reference the figures obtained in the first five months of the year, the number of forest fire crimes has increased by 140% compared to the same period of 2018.

The number of detainees or investigated for such crimes has increased this year by 90%. There are a total of 178 people considered authors of them, a figure that almost doubles the 95 arrested and investigated last year.

For this reason, the Civil Guard confronts this problem from a triple perspective, on the one hand with prevention activities, on the other with operational actions during its extinction and, finally, once the incident has occurred, through its comprehensive police investigation.

Prevention work

  • Surveillance services in forest masses and areas susceptible to forest fires, as well as in those where fire may originate.
  • Check and demand compliance with the different regulations that establish obligations, restrictions and prohibitions that, in order to prevent forest fires or minimize their consequences, are dictated by the competent authorities at each time and place, attending to the daily risk rates published.
  • Give recommendations, together with Civil Protection, to citizens to, on the one hand, minimize the possibility of fire ignition and, on the other, avoid personal injury, should they be the victim of one.

Alertcops application

From the Ministry of Interior, the free application “AlertCops” has been put into operation that allows crimes to be reported to the State Security Forces and Corps in a simple way. Simply register, open the application and press the specific alert button in its icon menu. In this way your position will reach the nearest control center.

Through this menu of icons the application communicates any crime through the mobile phone. When the alert button is pressed, the application asks the user a series of questions about the crime he wants to report. Likewise, the complainant can send images and videos.

The Civil Guard recommends to the public, the download of this application to communicate quickly and accurately with the State Security Forces and Corps in case of emergency. People with hearing or oral communication difficulties can also use it.

Actions during extinction

The Civil Guard focuses its efforts on minimizing the dangers on the life and integrity of the people, the damages on the property, and on facilitating the work of those responsible for the extension of the fire. To do this, evacuations of citizens are carried out in endangered places, traffic on the affected communication roads is restricted or protection of abandoned properties is given, among others.


The police and criminal investigation of forest fires becomes a fundamental instrument to tackle the origin of this problem, since it allows the courts to give evidence to purge the responsibilities derived from their authorship, while deterring future criminal actions. and, also, the negligent conduct of the rest of the citizenship.

During the first six months of this year, the number of forest fire crimes known to Civil Guard has increased by 136% over the same period last year. These data justify the effort made by the Civil Guard for this summer campaign, especially when the number of fires caused by natural causes was reduced by half. Likewise, the number of detainees and investigated has increased considerably.

The Study and analysis of the profile of the arsonist was launched as an effective tool for this comprehensive police investigation, from the Civil Guard, in collaboration with the Office of the Environment and Urban Planning Office. This tool allows to know the profile of the possible authors, thus orienting the research towards certain people.

So far, it has allowed the identification of 4 large profiles: the author of fires committed by “inappropriate traditional practices” – burning of stubble for agriculture, regeneration of pastures for livestock, etc-; the author of the fire called "meaningless", because the arsonist does not gain anything material with burning; the authors of the fires for “obtaining benefit”, when the crime is committed to obtain a clear benefit of any kind: hunting, work, etc .; and, finally, the authors of the “revenge” fires, when burned to harm a third party.

In this Campaign, the Civil Guard has reinforced the SEPRONA Investigation Teams (EPRONAS) with specialized personnel and experts in the investigation of forest fires in those Commanders in which this problem has been repeated more frequently.


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