LLEIDA – With the unusually high temperatures and drought in Spain, the risk of forest fires is extremely high. The fires in Artesa de Segre, Castellar de la Ribera (Lleida), and Corbera d’Ebre (Tarragona) are still active and have already destroyed 1,100 hectares of land.
That said the fire department of the Generalitat on Thursday. A total of 155 land and air units are active. The army joined the firefighting tasks. And, furthermore, the Generalitat mobilised all firefighters to fight the fires in Artesa, Corbera d’Ebre, and Castellar de la Ribera.
“Anything you can contribute to extinguishing the fires as quickly as possible is welcome,” said Bernat Solé, deputy of the government in Lleida, of the Artesa fire, which destroyed more than 500 hectares. Solé called on people with tractors to join farmers working the fields at 9.00 am today (Thursday) to stop the fire from spreading.
M2 alarm due to active fires
Generalitat firefighters activated the M2 alarm on Wednesday evening. This required all members to report “as long as there are vehicles to work with” due to the multiple fires.
Solé added that the city council has again called on farmers to plow in the town of Baldomar (Lleida), following the instructions of the firefighters. “The aim is that the fire does not advance towards Vilanova de Meià (Lleida) or the Sant Mamet mountain. And that the flames do not cross the River Segre,” said the government delegate.
The three fires in Lleida and Tarragona coincide with five other fires in the Lleida region. The Generalitat has called for extreme precautions to be taken. This is in light of the “maximum serious” situation caused by the coincidence of several fires in Catalonia during a heat wave.
The possible closing of nature parks
“We expect a very complicated summer,” said Minister Laura Vilagrà on Thursday. “The weather is getting worse every year and the drought is very evident this year. We have to be careful and maybe we should take preventive decisions, such as closing natural parks.”
She also highlighted the Generalitat’s plan for this summer, with “5,000 personnel, 1,200 on the ground and 40 in the air! but, she said, “maybe it won’t be enough”.
Schools start earlier
The mercury reached 42 degrees in Lleida in recent days, making it the Catalan region with the highest temperatures. Without air conditioning, students and staff in schools suffer from high temperatures. “You can take lessons for the first three hours, but by noon it is impossible,” admits Josep Rubió, head of a secondary school in Lleida. That is why the Ministry of Education has been asked to finish classes at 1.00 pm instead of 3.00 pm.
Also read: Fire in southern Spain under control