Firefighters say they lack equipment to curb wildfires
SPAIN’S firefighters have complained they lack the equipment to tackle a spate of late summer wildfires because of spending cuts.
“There were firefighters who could not get involved with the job of fighting the fires because they didn’t even have gloves or boots,” Antonio del Rio, of the Catalan firefighters’ branch of the UGT trade union, said.
Others complained to Catalonia’s media of a shortage of breathing apparatus.
Agriculture minister Miguel Angel Canete acknowledged that cutbacks have affected regional governments’ abilities to control forest fires. More than 132 hectares of forest have been burnt this year, compared with just under 40 hectares in 2011, El Pais reported yesterday.
The environment ministry in March allocated €19 million (£15m) for fighting fires in national parks between 2012 and 2016, but by June had cut that by nearly €4m, some 20 per cent. National parks have been among the areas hardest hit by the raging fires. The ministry said it was the responsibility of Spain’s 17 regions to set their own firefighting budgets, but it would take responsibility for national parks meanwhile.
Catalonia, Valencia and the Canaries, the three regions most affected by the fires last week, are among the most indebted.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East