Forest fires near Valencia: “It’s not enough to control fires – we need prevention through Sustainable Forest Management”, says INFORMA coordinator
After the large forest fires that affected Begís (Alt Palancia) in the Region of Valencia, Spain, last September, another fire of great proportions already burned more than 4.000 hectares of forest in the province of Castellón since it broke out on Thursday last week.
In an interview with local media broadcaster À Punt, INFORMA’s coordinator and professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) José Vicente Oliver highlighted the importance of Sustainable Forest Management to prevent forest fires. “We were warning that the area had a high risk of forest fire and, unfortunately, the forecast was fulfilled”, he said.
Large quantities of biomass such as dead trees and branches accumulated in forests in the interior districts of Castellón after heavy snowfalls in 2017. The fact that they remain without management has contributed to fueling and amplifying last week’s fires.
Oliver warned that once forest fires start to spread, they might be impossible to control, particularly under unstable wind conditions. However, he stressed that such fires can be avoided through investments in Sustainable Forest Management for fire prevention.
“If we put all our efforts into fire brigades and extinguishing fires but not in their prevention, it is difficult to act in an efficient manner, that is sustained through time. And it is hard to create a virtuous cycle where forest and agricultural management also benefit our communities”.
Read a summary of the interview or watch the video below (in Spanish).