Improvement in Galicia forest fire situation

Improvement in Galicia forest fire situation

14 August 2006

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Spain, Galicia — The forest fire situation in Galicia has seen some improvement although things are still difficult in the province of La Coruña.

Yesterday saw 150 fires in the Galician region, 44 of which remain out of control.

During Saturday Galicia saw an increase in the numbers of forest fires to stand at 71 in total. The number of alleged arsonists who have now been arrested stands at 27, and the latest arrests include another member of a fire-fighting team.

Despite the continuing high numbers the regional government has spoken about ‘control and improvement’, and now all alert 1 levels, which mean danger to human life, have been cancelled.

The situation was particularly bad in Orense on Saturday night where as many as 138 new fires had started taking the total in the area to 164, of which 71 remained active late Saturday.

Meanwhile a 70 year old man who had been taken to hospital in Vigo with burns following a fire in A Cañiza in Pontevedra has died, taking the total number of victims to four since the start of the fires.

400 army parachutists have now joined in the fight against the fires, and El Pais reports that the Ministry for Defence wants the soldiers to be given the same powers as the police when assigned to such emergencies.

A new so-called Military Emergency Unit, UME, will help in the control of fires from next year, under new government plans, and a national alert centre will be open round the clock in Torrejón de Ardoz in Madrid.


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