Greens call for investigation into forest fires disaster

2nd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 August 2004, MADRID – The Green party has described current Spanish forestry policy as a "widespread failure" and called for a commission to investigate Andalucia, the region worst hit by the recent surge in woodland fires.

2 August 2004

MADRID – The Green party has described current Spanish forestry policy as a "widespread failure" and called for a commission to investigate Andalucia, the region worst hit by the recent surge in woodland fires.

National MP for the Greens (Los Verdes), Francisco Garrido, told a press conference on Monday that mountain areas in the provinces of Seville and Huelva devastated by the flames should be declared a "catastrophe zone".

Garrido said the region's emergency plans had "worked well" and that there were "no big errors" in the fire-fighting. The main reasons why the fires had managed to engulf more than 26,000 hectares were the weather conditions and the abandonment of a forestry policy.

The effect on the environment was the worst in Andalucia since the wastage spill which entered the Doñana National Park from the Aznalcollar mines in the 1990s, he added.

"We are facing a generalised failure in forestry and fire prevention policy both in Andalucia and in Spain". While the fires appeared to have been started deliberately, the flames should have not been able to catch hold over such a large area.

The declaration of a 'catastrophe zone' would not be a 'magic formula', but it would help to serve as "recognition of the gravity of the problem".

Garrido's harshest words were directed at the Partido Popular (PP) government, which lost the 14 March national general elections. During its eight years in office the PP had "abandoned" forestry policy and channelled funds into water boards rather than passing it to the autonomous regions, he said.

In neighbouring Murcia, a forest fire outbreak on Sunday is believed to have started from a camping gas accident on a plot of land owned by a Dutch family.

The acting mayor of Lorca, Josias Martinez, said the flames had been spread rapidly by the wind over a distance of 20 kilometres.

Although the fire was brought under control by Monday morning, the mayor said it was too early to judge the extent of the damage. In the area is a rare tortoise colony.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]


Subject: Spanish news

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