Spain declares all forest fire areas a disaster area

by Lorraine Williamson
disaster area

On Tuesday, August 23, the Council of Ministers of Spain declares all areas where major fires have raged in Spain this year as disaster areas. So far, more than 388 wildfires (large and small) have destroyed more than 223,000 hectares of land. 

Last Monday, the Spanish prime minister already announced that these areas would be labelled as disaster areas on Tuesday. Officially, in Spain, this is now referred to as “a zone where it is necessary for civil protection to take place”. The consequence of this statement is that more money is being made available for assistance and compensation for victims. 

Disaster area in Spain more than four times larger than years ago 

Prime Minister Sanchez told media the larger fires have destroyed more than 223,000 hectares of land so far this year. This is many times more than the 51,000 hectares that were lost to fire in 2021. Over 223,000 hectares of land been destroyed. Furthermore, 270,000 people (temporarily) had to leave their homes. And also, more than 70,000 animals have died in the province of Alicante alone. 

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Pedro Sánchez, together with Ximo Puig from the Valencian Community and Minister Grande-Marlaska, visited the areas affected by the fire in Bejís (Castellón). The Spanish Prime Minister says: “This is the hottest summer since the statistics have been kept from 1961. What we have learned from science is that the coming summers will unfortunately get even warmer.” 

Spanish prime minister insists on preventive measures against wildfires 

In addition to the massive extinguishing activities, the Spanish prime minister wants to focus on the prevention of wildfires. A royal decree is currently ready and awaits approval from the Spanish government with a package of measures to fight forest fires. This package will be discussed by Parliament on Thursday. 

Sánchez said he wanted to use “the greatest possible means” to prevent and fight the wildfires. Finally, the Prime Minister took advantage of this visit to thank the armed forces, the military emergency services and the Guardia Civil for their efforts in recent weeks. 

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