The high-risk forest fire campaign on the Balearic Islands ended with 10.5 hectares burned

Oct 16, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The councillor for the Environment and Territory, Miquel Mir, and the manager of the Institut Balear de la Natura (IBANAT), Joan Ramon, presented the balance of the forest fire campaign in the Balearic Islands this Friday. This year, there have been 75 fires that have affected a total area of 10.56 hectares up to 14 October. The figure is, so far, the best in the entire historical series.

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By islands, most of the fires occurred in Mallorca (46), followed by Eivissa with 23, Menorca with 4 and Formentera with 2. 97% of these fires have been conatos, i.e. fires that have affected less than one hectare.

As for the type of surface area affected, 63% was on wooded forest land (mainly pine forests or ullastrar) and the rest was on non-wooded land (reeds, scrub, canyet, etc.).

The councillor stressed that the figures for this fire season “are very good news, but they should not make us lower our guard, as a major forest fire could break out at any time”. In any case, Mir thanked the work of “a successful inter-island operation that not only acts with precision and speed during the extinguishing of forest fires but also throughout the year, with the tasks of preventing forest fires and raising public awareness”.

Precisely, to take stock of the high-risk forest fire campaign, a visit was made to the s’Estremera Nova self-protection strip, where work was carried out on 8 hectares with a budget of 92,047.52 €. The brigades will continue working until the end of the year.

In this regard, Ramon stressed “the importance of the prevention tasks that have to be carried out at this time of year, especially in the urban-forestal interface areas”.

As for the causes of forest fires, almost half (47%) of the fires were started by negligence or accidental causes, 24% were intentional and 15% were due to natural causes (lightning).

It should be noted that, since 2014, no more than 500 hectares have been burnt, with the last important year being 2020, with the fire in S’Albufera de Mallorca. Mir explained that these figures are largely due to “awareness-raising policies, risk culture and environmental education”, but stressed that “we must continue to increase public awareness and fire prevention, especially in the context of the climate emergency we are experiencing”.