The State's device to give support to the autonomous communities in the fight against forest fires is similar to that of previous years, and incorporates the highest technology, such as communication and observation aircraft, the use of drones or satellite tools, to help in the prevention and extinction of fires.
The undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Isabel Goicoechea, accompanied by the General Director of Civil Protection and Emergencies, Alberto Herrera, presided at the headquarters of the Department the meeting of the State Committee for the Coordination of Forest Fires (CECO), which they attended representatives of the different State agencies involved in the Campaign.
During the meeting, the members of the Committee agreed that the good results obtained in the Campaign of 2018, the year in which the lowest data of the last decade were recorded, both in the number of hectares burned and in the number of consequences on the population, it will be difficult for them to repeat themselves in 2019. It is foreseeable that the winter will be very hot and dry this year, as the President of the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), Miguel Ángel López, has a negative impact on the occurrence of forest fires.
Ministry of InteriorThe Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior has called for redoubling the prevention and coordination between administrations to try to mitigate, as far as possible, the consequences of fires when they occur, and recalled that "we have to achieve that goal with a device that , both by the means at its disposal, and by the preparation of the professionals who participate in it, is a benchmark in the European field in the fight against forest fires. "
In this context, it should be noted that Spain is one of the five countries of the European Union that participates in the aerial media fleet of the rescEU system to fight forest fires, which the EU is launching for the first time this year. Our country has offered this deployment two high-capacity fire-fighting aircraft.
The Spanish experience is being increasingly required in the international scenario, and a good example of this is the deployment of a team of experts from the European Civil Protection Mechanism in Guatemala to advise the Government of that country on forest fire, integrated in mostly by Spanish experts and led by an official of the Military Emergency Unit (UME).
State Media for the 2019 Campaign
The State complements the action corresponding to the Autonomous Communities by virtue of its 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. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Military Emergency Unit are the agencies that provide the most resources:
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: 73 aerial means and 10 Brigades of Fight against forest Fires.
18 Cl-215T and CL-415 amphibious aircraft, 4 surveillance helicopters, 8 Kamov bomber helicopters, 10 AT-802 ground cargo planes, 6 AT-802FB amphibious aircraft, 19 brigade transport helicopters, 4 communication aircraft and observation (ACO) and 4 unmanned aerial reinforcement vehicles for night use positioned in León, Zaragoza, Cáceres and Albacete.
The BRIF have their bases in Laza (Orense), Tineo (Asturias), Tabuyo (León), Lubia (Soria), Daroca (Zaragoza), Pradoesquiladores (Cuenca), La Iglesuela (Toledo), Puerto Pico (Ávila), Pinofranqueado ( Cáceres) and Puntagorda (La Palma). In addition, it has 7 mobile units.
The Military Emergency Unit it contributes 1,400 troops in interventions of direct attack to the fire and other 1,500 in functions of logistical support, next to the corresponding material means, terrestrial as as much aerial. It acts at the request of the Autonomous Communities through the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies.
The State's mechanism is completed with the actions of the State Security Forces (Civil Guard and National Police) in surveillance, prevention and investigation tasks.
Monitoring 24 hours a day
From the National Emergency Center (CENEM) of the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, a continuous monitoring of the declared situations is carried out and updated information is provided to all the bodies involved to facilitate early decision-making. In addition, the satellite detection system is available, from which simulations of the possible evolution of the fires detected can be made.
Likewise, this General Directorate coordinates the contribution of international media, through the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union and is responsible for activating the European Copernic System for Earth mapping in emergency management, a very useful tool for the subsequent evaluation of the fire.
Data until April 30, 2019
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe campaign against forest fires takes place between June and October, coinciding with the period of more heat and less rainfall. However, the fire can appear at any time of the year if there are circumstances that favor its spread: high, temperatures, lack of rain and wind, as has happened during this winter, especially in the northern regions of the peninsula.
This concurrence of phenomena has caused that, according to the data provided by the Coordination Center of the National Information on Forest Fires, until April 30 have burned more than 32,000 hectares of forest area. This figure represents a significant increase compared to 2018, which was a year with very few forest fires, and also exceeds the average of the last decade, which is close to 24,000 hectares.
On the other hand, for the purposes of Civil Protection, up to May 20, 159 fires have been notified to the National Emergency Monitoring and Coordination Center. The most serious events took place in Cantabria in February, due to its great simultaneity.
So far, the Military Emergency Unit has been mobilized five times: in the Canary Islands, Asturias, Galicia, Cantabria and Castilla-La Mancha.
Normality and absence of notable incidents in the Winter Road Campaign 2018-2019
This Thursday has also been held the State Balance Committee of the Winter Road Campaign 2018-2019, which closes without notable incidents. This campaign has registered the minor consequences of recent years, given the scarcity of snowfall during the winter.
The prepared operation worked normally when it was necessary to intervene and, as the most notable events, some occurred in the Cantabrian coast and in the Pyrenees. For its part, the Military Emergency Unit had to intervene on a single occasion in the southwest of the Principality of Asturias.