How much does it cost to put out a fire? This question may sound ludicrous, when Spain suffers Devastating wave of fierce fire this year And the importance of the work done by the fire brigade is once again highlighted. But inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices, is making their job more complicated if possible. The costs support longer, shorter seasonal campaigns, which, because of their virulence, require better resources and greater investment in prevention.
,“One hour flight, it’s only 200 euros in fuel”,
“Volar” nine hours a day One plane is something we haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years,” Juan Carlos Martínez, general director of the Alliance, one of the air fire companies, tells RNE, recalling that it also meant two pilots. .
In addition to the unprecedented time in the air, fuel costs are double what it was a year ago and each helicopter consumes at least 200 liters per hour. “aeronautical fuel” Last year it was 0.50 – 0.48 Euro and now it is 1 Euro. Is, So an hour’s flight, they are 200 euros in fuel only. We are getting 600,000-700,000 EUR invoices a month, compared to 200,000-250,000 EUR last year.”
In addition, for safety, at least every 150 hours is required. Continuous modification and change of parts Their cost has also increased since the coronavirus pandemic, according to Ignacio Gracia, president of the Association of Aerial Work and Emergencies (ATAIRE). “Practically every three days we are revising the machines,” he explains. “Right now our cost is over 30%.”
The price hike has affected 230 aircraft of a dozen companies, which they say are on the verge of bankruptcy. Sector wise the problem is that Contract law does not allow the price of these concessions to be modified. which lasts between four and five years. At the same time, they also have to pay money to buy fuel, which takes two to three months for the administration to repay.
But the additional cost of the fire outweighs the punctuality in the cost of fuel.
More toxic fires, less seasonal, more difficult to extinguish
this year they got burnt In our country more than 200,000 hectares, According to the European Forest Fire Information System, over the past four years combined. With and without inflation, there are fires more toxic and therefore more difficult to extinguish, It is not easy to tell the amount.
According to the Navarra Forestry Agenda 2019-2023, “The cost of extinguishing declared wildfires is highly variable, but it can be approx 10,000 euro/ha When airborne means intervene, to which the amount of post-fire actions should be added. However, specific information on other autonomous communities leaves the average figure estimated in the Foral Government report small.
,“We will see fire in December, in January, in May, in August”,
For example, the Canary Islands reported in 2021 that wildfire costs Herewhich burned just over 3,000 hectares, amount about 68,000 euros, a figure that doubles to 10,000 Euros per hectare. “The expense was set to face Displacement, accommodation and maintenance of intervention personnelas well as the necessary material endowments and the transfer of various supplies and services” specified the Canarian government in a note in July 2021. The fire was declared in May, but could not be completely extinguished until October.
In this sense, forest firefighter José Manuel Alonso, from the Forum of Associations and Associations of Forest Firefighters, warned in ‘Las Manas de Rne’ that the fire increasingly “less seasonal” And they will be not only in the summer. “We will see fires in December, in January, in May, in August, we will see it and more complex every day,” he said.
According to the professional, this fast and poisonous fire generate your own weather “Like when a summer storm arises”, an erratic behavior that makes the task of extinction very difficult.
“They are so toxic because the moisture conditions of the burning material are very dry. It is very ready to burn. The climatic conditions are very favorable: Very low humidity, very high temperatures, high winds. It’s all coming together”, he has developed. Changes the winds, which are very difficult to predict”,
Threats to the safety of firefighters and civilians
For Jose Manuel Alonso, it represents a danger at first, For the safety of forest firefighters and brigade members. “They don’t give us training Adequate and specific to the development of fire”, he rated. And his words resonate with the demand for better working conditions, especially among Castilla y León teams.
After the massive fire in the community, the agents condemned that Up to two thirds of the workers work during the summer season only. With milurista pay, marathon days and a little training. On the front lines, some 60-year-old firefighters are fighting fires and maintenance of suits and other materials is not equally diligent in all autonomous communities, according to Jose Pedro Hernández, secretary of the Fire Brigade Workers Association. of forest fires (BRIF) in RNE’s ‘Three Causes’.
Forestry teams remuneration, equipment and sustainability are other essential expenses. protect the biodiversity of farms and forests, but also the people,
“We’ve been saying for many years that these fires are coming” [de quinta y sexta generación] Which we saw and saw in the USA and Australia. For us at first it was unimaginable, but this year we already have every day and we are very concerned about the civilian population. Defending municipalities is not working the way it should. There should be self-protection schemes for municipalities which are not being done at this time,” claimed the forest firefighter.
Reclaiming destroyed homes, unique specimens, ecosystems is a uncountable cost And the only action that can prevent reaching that point is Redressal, In recent weeks, forest engineers and environmental organizations have reiterated that climate change and rural abandonment are behind these more intense fires that are difficult to extinguish and, therefore, have proposed reforming land management with “firebreak landscapes” or “grazing”. Is. Fire to destroy the fuel load the mountain has.
However, this is still a pending issue in Spain. According to a WWF report, 1,000 million euros per year are allocated to implement extinction measures in Spain. Of these, 300 million euros i.e. Only 20% of the total investment is allocated for containment.
“Extinction is necessary and positive, however, it is not enough. Without a land restructuring and planning policy, the money invested in extinction will never be enough,” the conservation organization recalls.