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Government will approve plan coordinate fight against fires Pedro Sanchez

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Image of firefighters tackling the forest fire in Caudiel.
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Pedro Sanchez has assured that the Government will approve a plan to coordinate the fight against the increasing number of forest fires in Spain.

 

Pedro Sanchez, the President of the Government, announced this Friday, July 29, that the Government will approve in a Council of Ministers to be held next Monday, August 1, a decree of urgent measures to deal with the wave of fires that are plaguing Spain. 

He intends to ask the autonomies to reinforce their plans against fires, and added that, with the increase in risks caused by climate change, these plans should be extended throughout the year.

As he has done on previous occasions, Mr Sanchez pointed to climate change as the ultimate cause of these fires. He insisted that the objective of all administrations must be to adapt to the situation to mitigate the risks caused by phenomena such as heat waves, which he described as “unprecedented”.

“It is important that we homogenize the capabilities of fighting fires that the autonomous communities have” he stressed.

Mr Sanchez did not want to offer any details about the measures that the decree to be approved on Monday will contain. He did however indicate that he considers it necessary to establish ‘minimums’ so that there are no differences between the firefighting services of some autonomous communities compared to others. A reform of the coordination of all in this matter seems on the cards.

Pointing to the role that the State has played in the work of extinguishing the recent fires, Sanchez detailed that, “despite being an autonomous competence”, the General Administration of the State and Civil Protection has been present in more than 80 per cent of those that have occurred this summer.

That, precisely, is one of the objectives of the measures that will be approved on Monday. In this regard, Sanchez pointed out that: “the climate emergency has changed our way of preventing and fighting fires, which means that the prevention and extinction plans cannot last five months”.

“They will have to last the whole year, 12 months, and that will require increasing the capacities of the autonomous communities to deal with these disasters”, Sanchez assured. He made it clear though that the Government: “will always be responding to a common enemy such as the fire”.

In recent days, several forest fires have broken out in different parts of the country, with those in Galicia, Castilla y Leon, and Catalonia being of particular concern. The fire that began to devastate Sierra de la Culebra in Zamora on July 15 has already destroyed 15,000 hectares.

According to data from the Ministry of the Environment, so far in 2022, forest fires have burned 69,859.38 hectares from January 1 to June 26. That is 56.6 per cent more than the average of the last ten years in the same period, as reported by 20minutos.es.

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