Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trucks versus trucks


Spain is suffering one of the worst summers ever for the last 20 years in terms of forest fires. The largest forest areas destroyed by the fire are in Valencia, Catalonia and the Canary Islands, but most Spanish regions have suffered one or two forest fires. On 12 August, still in mid summer season, 140,000 hectares were already burnt. Just to get a clear picture: there are 67 countries in the world with a smaller surface area than the amount of hectares destroyed by fire in Spain. All these fires are due to different causes. On the one hand, Spain had some very rainy years followed by a very dry winter and an extremely hot summer, which is the perfect scenario to get a very thick and dry shrub layer, ready to burn. But on the other hand, there is another actor in this story: major cuts in fire brigades and clearout programmes imposed by the Spanish government and local authorities. Only in Valencia, the local authorities cut the budget to fight against forest fires in 15 million euros.
The Spanish authorities justify these major cuts with the current financial crisis: budgets should be cut if there is less money. True enough, but these cuts could be more selective. Last March, just to set an example, the Spanish government authorised the purchase of 772 military trucks for 149 million euros (no VAT included). We’d better buy fire trucks, don’t you think?

Sources:
  1. Article at The Guardian about summer wildfires in Spain: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/22/cuts-blamed-deaths-spanish-wildfires
  2. Summer wildfires in Spain: http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/Trabajamos-en/Bosques/Incendios-forestales-en-Espana/
  3. On 12 August, 140,000 hectares were already burnt: http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/Blog/ms-presupuestos-y-menos-demagogia-contra-los-/blog/41820/
  4. List of countries by total area: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_outlying_territories_by_total_area
  5. Major cuts in Valencia: http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/06/30/actualidad/1341074103_491294.html
  6. The purchase of military trucks: http://www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-consejo-gobierno-autoriza-compra-772-camiones-militares-mas-149-millones-euros-20120309155558.html
   
    
     
     

2 comments: