Government calls on public to report 'forest terrorists'
8 August 2006, GALICIA – Spain’s environment minister appealed to the public on Tuesday to report the arsonists who have started around 100 forest fires in Galicia.
8 August 2006
GALICIA – Spain’s environment minister appealed to the public on Tuesday to report the arsonists who have started around 100 forest fires in Galicia.
On Tuesday, a total of 62 fires were described as "active" in the north-western region of Spain, with another 38 still burning, but described as being under control.
Socialist environment minister Cristina Narbona said those responsible for "forest terrorism" needed to be punished and could be individuals with "disorders of all types" as well as individuals who were angry at not being hired for the fire services this year.
Four people so far have been arrested for deliberately starting fires. The latest suspect arrested on Tuesday was a 49-year-old man from Outeiro de Rei who is believed to have started a blaze on 6 August on private land which destroyed 3,000 square metres of trees, including fruit trees.
Another three suspects were arrested on Monday. One was released without charges.
The managing director of the Civil Guard, Joan Mesquida, on Tuesday met those in charge of the fire investigations and announced an extra 109 specialised officers would join the existing teams.
So far, three people have died in forest fires in Galicia.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pontevedra and La Coruna were described as the areas worst affected by fire in the region, with both classified as alert 2, which means the army could be called in to evacuate houses.
Narbona said 35 percent of Spain’s total fire-fighting resources were being used in Galicia. Volunteer fire fighters from other autonomous communities in Spain have gone to the north-western region to help.
On Tuesday, conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy visited Galicia and said he would put his political differences with the government aside until the emergency was over.
On Monday, Galicia’s rural environment councillor Alfredo Suarez Canal said the authorities were dealing with a new type of arsonist. With such a large number of fires being started in woods near residential areas, the intention was to harm, he said.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news