Spaniards 'turn blind eye' to forest fires: Narbona
25 August 2005, MADRID — Spaniards were guilty of turning a blind eye to the thousands of forest fires which have laid waste to parts of the country, the environment minister said.
25 August 2005
MADRID — Spaniards were guilty of turning a blind eye to the thousands of forest fires which have laid waste to parts of the country, the environment minister said.
Cristina Narbona said there was "social complicity" and "tolerance" of forest fires in Spain.
She said this explained why there had been 18,000 blazes this year, but police had only been able to say for sure 277 were caused deliberately or by negligence.
Eight thousand of all the forest fires this year happened in Galicia, in north-western Spain which has been gripped by scores of blazes this week.
In July, 11 volunteer firefighters were killed when the wind changed direction suddenly during a blaze in Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain.
Narbona told a press conference in Madrid: "I am not going to say sorry to anyone for saying there is social complicity in these fires.
"Those who should say sorry are those who start, tolerate and know about these fires."
Meanwhile, in Galicia where blazes have destroyed thousands of hectares of land, only one major fire was still underway.
One firefighter was injured when he fell towards a blazing tree in the La Coruna region.
Five other blazes were said to be 'active' and could re-start, fire authorities said.
In Castilla-Leon, three forest fires were out of control.
In Portugal authorities forest fires were under control for the first time since the weekend.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news