Environment ministry launches initiative to prevent forest fires

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THE MINISTY of Agriculture, Environment, Climate change and Rural Development has this week launched a campaign designed to increase awareness and self-protection measures against forest fires amongst residents of homes located in urban-forest environments.

The director general of Forest Fire Prevention, Delia Álvarez, presided over the launch of the initiative entitled “#STOPALFOC” amongst residents living in the urbanizations of Monastery of Santo Espíritu, Gilet in the North of Valencia.

The residents were invited to a workshop designed to offer advice and help on best practice to prevent fires and procedures to follow in the case of fire breaking out.

The campaign targets areas at most risk from the devastating fires which destroyed many areas of the region last summer and the workshops will continue at strategic locations throughout the Valencian Community over the coming weeks.

Delia Álvarez explained that the campaign aims to promote awareness and self-protection to people living in affected villas, houses and urbanizations and to also: ‘appeal to citizens to act responsibly in order to avoid negligence that may lead to forest fires. It must be taken into account that the management of a forest fire is very complex, since it can endanger human lives, material goods and the natural environment itself.’’

She continued: ‘For this reason, it is necessary that people living in these areas have preventive measures and self-protection in case of fire.’’

She hoped the campaign will give greater security to the owners of the properties in urban forested areas.

The workshops are being held to give information to enable householders to plan the defence of their own property.

They will also be given advice on how to assemble in safe zones and on the minimum requirements that need to be fulfilled to minimize the risks of fire.

The initiative will see 54 workshops take place in the 106 areas considered to be most at risk within the whole of the Valencian Communidad.

Representatives from the environmental agency will hold the information workshops along with officials from the Consortium of Firemen of Valencia.

In addition to residents, presidents and administrators of urbanisations most at risk, invitations will also be handed out to representatives of the municipalities in which the talks are given.

At the first launch meeting officials from the town councils of Gilet, Torres-Torres, Estivella, Albalat dels Tarongers, Sagunto, Petrés, Algimia, Alfara de la Baronia, Algar de Palancia and Segart all took part in the workshop.

Alvarez, however stressed that the ultimate responsibility for the prevention of fires falls on the householders themselves and adequate precautions must be taken to avoid fires occurring in the first instance.

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