The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment moves up the period of high danger of forest fires in Ibiza and Formentera to 1 April.

Mar 28, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment has decided to change the starting date of this year’s high forest fire danger season in Ibiza and Formentera. Thus, it is moved forward to the 1st of April, when it usually starts one month later (1st of May). This means that, as of this date, the use of fire is banned on forest land and within 50 metres of it, as well as in all recreational areas. On the other hand, it will be necessary to request authorisation to burn on agricultural land within 500 metres of forest land.

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment moves up the period of high danger of forest fires

The decision has been taken due to the drought situation suffered by the Pitiusas Islands, which have a serious deficit of accumulated rainfall during the last months. In this sense, the high indexes of drought and the pluviometric anomalies reflect a high availability of fuel, which means a very high to extreme risk of fire. Moreover, this index is not expected to improve in the coming weeks, given the lack of rainfall forecast in the medium term.

The councillor for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment, Joan Simonet, stressed that “it is important to adapt to the new drought conditions we are suffering, as they are becoming increasingly intense and frequent, a fact that considerably increases the risk of a major forest fire”. Along these lines, the councillor stated that “in an area as vulnerable to forest fires as the Balearic Islands are, it is essential to adapt the planning of all the means and resources at our disposal and to establish efficient preventive measures. For this reason, if the situation does not change over the next few weeks, we do not rule out advancing the forest fire risk season in Mallorca and Menorca”.

Simonet also explained that the forest fire prevention system (OIF) will be reinforced during this year’s pre-campaign throughout the archipelago. Thus, “resources will be increased during Easter and throughout April. Specifically, the Pitiusas Islands will have an additional brigade available for first intervention in case of forest fires from 28 March and a helicopter at the base of Sa Coma (Ibiza) from 8 April”. Likewise, the councillor explained, that the rest of the operation will be reinforced with the activation of the heliborne brigade in Mallorca (with the capacity to travel to and intervene on all the islands) during Easter Week and weekends in April, as well as with the reinforcement of the availability brigade in Menorca.

The OIF is made up of more than 350 people, including forestry technicians, environmental agents, brigadiers, drivers, operators, watchmen, etc., in addition to the rest of the organisations that make up the INFOBAL (Special Civil Protection Plan for Forest Fire Emergencies). For this 2024 campaign, the new technical and operational innovations that have been foreseen in the new contract for aerial means for the defence against forest fires will be implemented and new ground surveillance cameras with 360° vision will be installed, among other actions.

However, the councillor took the opportunity to send a message to the public in which he called for “great prudence and caution”. He also stressed that “it is essential that the Government works to raise awareness and educate people about prevention”.

It should be remembered that this year there have been 18 forest fires in the Balearic Islands, which have burned a total of 9.7 hectares, the vast majority of which have been cleared. The recommendations, applicable regulations and daily regulations on the use of fire can be consulted at