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A foreign tourist had arranged the display to celebrate a birthday, disregarding the risks of fire

Tuesday 11th August 2015


The Policía Local de Xàbia has opened prosecution proceedings against those responsible for launching fireworks close to a protected forest area on the night of Thursday 6th August, a blatant disregard of the current situation in which the region is on alert for a serious risk of fire.

The police received a call at 23:26 at night from a concerned neighbour who reported a large firework display in the area of Cap de la Nau and dispatched a patrol to investigate. When they arrived, the display has finished but they returned the following day to investigate the report and find the source of the display. With the assistance of residents of the area, a villa in the Urbanization La Cala in the Cap de la Nao zone was identified, a site that was just 30 metres from a forestry zone catalogued by PATFOR. According to the investigation of the police authorities, the display was arranged by a foreign tourist to celebrate a birthday, a serious offence for which he is now being prosecuted.

The report will be sent to the Department of Environment and, aside from reporting the owner of the house, it will also include the pyrotechnic company who supplied the fireworks since the professional sector is well aware of the autonomous ruling which prohibits the launching of fireworks within 500m of forest zones during the summer months. This same resolution suspended last year's iconic aquatic firework display which normally brings the fiestas in the port to a close in September because the launch point was just ten metres inside the exclusion zone.

The Department of Public Safety, headed by councillor Pepa Gisbert, warned of "zero tolerance" for such a disregard of the serious risks at the moment, behaviour which threatens the natural heritage of all and reminded everyone of their responsibilities to avoid the risk of fire during a summer which has been as hot and dry as this year. To contribute to this public awareness, the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia has published information leaflets in various languages which highlights the prohibition of fires and barbecues within 500 metres of a forestry zone as well as the proper disposal of cigarette butts and glass bottles. Rental companies are particularly requested to disseminate this important information to their clients in holiday homes.

In January 2014, seven tourists appeared in court in Dénia after starting a forest fire on La Plana in July 2013 after the negligent launch of a Chinese lantern. Although they initially tried to fight the fire themselves, the emergency services had to be called, the mountain route between Xàbia and Dénia was closed to assist the firefighters and residents warned of a possible evacuation, although ultimately this wasn't necessary. Some 1000 square metres of land was burnt.  The sale and use of Chinese lanterns has been banned in Spain since January 2012 because of the potential fire risk, a disaster waiting to happen. In 2013, after a tip off from a concerned resident, a shop in the port was found to have been selling the lanterns and they were removed by the authorities.

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