Zapatero pays surprise visit to fire-hit community

25th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2005, MADRID – Spain's president paid a surprise visit on Sunday to the area of Castilla La Mancha, which was hit by a forest fire.

25 July 2005

MADRID – Spain's president paid a surprise visit on Sunday to the area of Castilla La Mancha, which was hit by a forest fire.

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero returned from a state visit to China on Sunday morning and immediately set off by helicopter to visit Guadalajara, the area where 11 firefighters died when a fire got out of hand.

The president flew over more than 12,000 hectares of pine trees which were destroyed in the blaze.

He also talked with the reserve firefighters who tackled the blaze. They asked him to improve the conditions in which they work, to increase resources and to professionalise the jobs of the reserve firemen, to make them a way of life throughout the whole year.

Zapatero listened to how the fire had been tackled and told those he met "more planes must be bought" to fight bush fires.

Local residents also asked the president to grant aid to the region.

The conservative PP party condemned Zapatero’s visit as a publicity stunt, describing it as inappropriate.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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