The Government allocates 300,000 euros for the recovery of the area affected in the fire last May in Arico, Tenerife

The Council of Ministers has given the green light to the agreement approving the emergency actions for the environmental recovery of the area affected by the forest fire in Arico (Tenerife) for a maximum amount of 300,000 euros. On 20 May a forest fire broke out on the island of Tenerife, burning 3,025 hectares. in the municipalities of Arico and La Orotava, which caused damage to cultivated areas and masses of Canary Island pine forest, a natural habitat of Community interest belonging to the Natura 2000 Network.

The fire also affected nesting birds, some exclusive to the archipelago such as the Teide blue chaffinch (Fringilla teydea teydea), the two endemic pigeons (Columba bollii y Columba junoniae) and the Canary Island chiffchaff (Phylloscopus canariensis). Three of the four native reptile species have also been affected; the mullet (Chalcides v. viridanus), the perenquen (Tarentola d. delalandii) and the two subspecies of the Tenerife blight lizard: Gallotia g. galloti and G. g eisentrauti.

All three are characteristic of open, sunny areas, although the smooth preferentially inhabits low-lying areas.

In addition to the intrinsic loss of the ecological value of this forest area and the elimination of the protective function of vegetation (which accelerates erosion), fires affect hydrological balances by reducing infiltration and causing an increase in surface runoff.

According to the Government, the emergency of these works is justified in view of the risk of possible rains that accelerate and aggravate the erosive processes, with serious consequences for people and property and, subsequently, facilitate the Autonomous Community the comprehensive restoration of damaged areas in the longer term.

Likewise, and at the proposal of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco), the Council of Ministers has approved an agreement declaring the award by emergency procedure to contract a service for the coordination of aerial means and analysis and monitoring of forest fires.

The contracting of the coordination service will have a maximum amount of 1,688,386 euros and has been awarded to the Temporary Union of Companies Eliance Aviation- Heligrafics, according to a statement from Miteco. This device consists of four aircraft coordination and observation, which will operate throughout the summer campaign. These aircrafts are of great utility in the extinction of fires, since they allow to have detailed information of the fire at all times.

In addition, seven Mobile Analysis and Planning Units (UMAPs) will also become operational, providing enhanced coordination capabilities from the ground.

The contracting of these means is of “capital importance”, since not having this monitoring device is “a serious danger to the safety of firefighting operations involving a large number of aircraft”.

Miteco has a fleet of 69 aerial resources for firefighting -18 amphibious Cl-215T and CL-415 aircraft, 4 surveillance helicopters, 8 Kamov helicopter bombers, 10 AT-802 ground-loading aircraft, 6 amphibious AT-802FB aircraft, 19 medium helicopters for brigade transport, 4 coordination and observation aircraft (ACO) – which are in addition to the 190 resources contracted by the Autonomous Communities. This large number of resources makes it necessary to “ensure proper coordination of firefighting actions”.

This wide deployment responds to the fire regime in Spain, characterized by an absolute maximum of burned area during the months of July and August and a relative maximum during the month of March. On the other hand, climate change causes the periods of maximum risk to extend, something that is beginning to be observed in recent summer campaigns, in which large forest fires have been recorded during the month of June.

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