Friday 12th August 2022 · Mike Smith
Source: Generalitat Valenciana
The advisory warning issued by AEMET, the state meteorological agency, for extreme temperatures over the weekend and the increased extreme risk of forest fire due to associated westerly winds, has forced the Generalitat Valenciana to announce the closure of 17 of the 22 natural parks in the Comunidad Valenciana, included the Parque Natural del Montgó.
The restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles on tracks and forest paths comes into force today (Friday) and will remain in place over the long holiday weekend until Tuesday 16th August. The affected parks include Serra d’Irta, Penyagolosa, Desert de les Palmes, Tinença de Benifassà, Serra d’Espadà, Serra Calderona, Chera-Sot de Chera, Puebla de San Miguel, Túria, Hoces del Cabriel, Serra de Mariola, Font Roja, Montgó, Serra Gelada, Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca, Marjal Pego-Oliva and the forest area of L’Albufera.
Ximo Puig, president of the Generalitat Valenciana expressed the importance of citizen responsibility as the key to preventing forest fires whilst also announcing that the maximum risk protocols have been activated, including air and ground surveillance, as well as the dissuasive measures which restrict movement in the majority of the region’s natural parks.
Seven air routes have been established for aircraft working out of the air bases at Enguera, Siete Aguas and Castelló, the aircraft pre-loaded with water and fire-retardant means so that they can react as quickly as possible to any fire that they detected from the air. They will be supported by firefighters from the Generalitat Fire and Forest Fire Service who will maintain surveillance in strategic areas across the region whilst 66 surveillance points of the General Directorate for the Prevention of Forest Fires will be distributed throughout the Comunidad Valenciana.
The regional government has declared a pre-emergency level 3 condition which supposes mandatory restrictions on movement on footpaths and cross country, the suspension of works on forestry land and its surroundings, and the suspension of the use of fire or pyrotechnics for festive reasons on forest land and in the forest influence zone (up to 500 metres). It also established the general prohibition of the lighting of any fire on forest land and the forest influence zone and suspends any type of authorization for sports events on forest land.
In addition, the regional government has issues guidance to municipalities and organizations about the risks involved in high temperatures in order to be able to keep the population alert about preventative measures that can be taken during the heat wave.
In general terms, to cope with the extreme heat, the regional government’s health service recommends that the home be kept cool and ventilated, that physical exercise be restricted to cooler hours of the day, that exposure to the sun be avoided between the hours of 12.00pm and 4.00pm, and that people use sunscreen to protect themselves. And when the car is stopped or parked on public roads, never leave people or pets closed inside because very high temperatures could be reached.
In addition, it is advisable to drink water frequently, avoid alcohol and highly caffeinated beverages and eat plenty of salads, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to ensure adequate daily water intake and food with a high water content, as well as to take special care in hydration in children and the elderly, pregnant women, as well as in people with chronic diseases.
For any emergency, call 112.