Climate change makes the risk of fires higher every year and aggravates the typology of these phenomena, which makes prevention more important and extinction more difficult, as he explains. Ramón María Bosch, coordinator of the Forest Fire Defense Committee of TECNIFUEGO, the Spanish Association of Fire Protection Societies. “If we add to this that this year is being quite dry, the risk of fire will be very high, so we must take all precautions.”
For Pedro Alfonso Buldon, instructor and teacher of Professional Training in Emergencies and Civil Protection, specialist in forest fires and forest agent, drought is also one of the important elements, both in the prevention and extinction of forest fires, and one of the effects of climate change. “It directly affects the vegetation, it makes it more available to start burning, it makes the fire spread rapidly, and we have to use ourselves thoroughly to extinguish many of these fires.”
This water stress suffered by the vegetation increases with the passage of heat waves, which we understand as “Saharan”, masses of warm air that enter the peninsula and remain for several days, which together with the wind will promote fires. more difficult to contain. According to Buldón, “at the moment we have a somewhat more favorable situation than last year, but we cannot trust ourselves or lower our guard, since it can change rapidly as we enter the summer, and the campaigns are each year longer.”
How to prepare the season
In this new scenario of aggravated risks, experts warn about how to prepare for the impending wildfire season. Ramón María Bosch (TECNIFUEGO) proposes to try to minimize the risk: “on the one hand and as long as the authorities allow the forest work to be carried out, with the cleaning of the forest by means of perimeter strips, felling, tillage, grazing … although at this point most of this work should already have accomplished; and, on the other hand, when high temperatures arrive, minimizing or prohibiting those forestry activities that carry fire risk, especially during the hours of maximum heat, such as clearing, felling and other agricultural tasks ”.
In addition, it advises “to have the extinguishing teams equipped with good tools and in perfect condition; fire trucks, fire hoses, water nozzles, aircraft, retardants… ”.
For its part, Pedro Alfonso Buldon He explains that “it is difficult to anticipate what this fire campaign may be”, but adds that “for the moment it begins with the progressive deconfinement of the population and the plant remains generated by the storm Filomena, variables that we did not have in other years.” And he warns that “the fact that the branches are hanging from the trees provides the necessary continuity for a fire to get complicated, go from scrub to canopy in a matter of minutes.”
In the opinion of this expert, “rural abandonment, the effects of climate change and what we call” The paradox of fire “will make the fires increasingly aggressive and intense, the so-called sixth generation fires”.
Buldón indicates that “in principle we can expect a somewhat calm start. The situation is somewhat more favorable than last year, there are technical variables that indicate this, but things will begin to get complicated with the cereal harvest and the advance of summer ”. The situation “will depend on the heat waves we have and the possible exceptional episodes in terms of meteorology.” In any case, it affirms that “the different regional and state devices are prepared, with all their available resources, even increased in certain areas of special protection.”