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Formentera Council thanks associations, experts and volunteers for tackling s'Espalmador blaze

visita4 pequeVisiting s'Espalmador island this morning, where workers were still working to put out a blaze that began last night, CiF president Jaume Ferrer thanked Council firefighters, Formentera and Eivissa crews of the Balearic Island's ecology bureau (Ibanat), firefighters called in from Mallorca, staff of the nearby marine reserve, coast guard rescue crews, the Guardia Civil, Formentera's civil protection crews and its local police force for their work controlling the wildfire. Recognising myriad efforts (“both with logistics and helping people reach the flames”), Ferrer expressed gratitude to crews that helped watercraft anchor, Formentera-based inspection workers and “residents like Sergi Gómez who pitched in too”.

Ferrer traveled to s'Espalmador with the CiF president's office councillor, Bartomeu Escandell, and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera. Stepping off the boat, they met and thanked two members of the Formentera Ibanat crew who prepared to make the same journey in reverse. The three officials thanked CiF firefighters as well; as the local fire brigade packed up its own equipment and prepared to send it back home, aerial crews led the final firefighting work from above.

On the shore, the chief brigadier explained to officials that, excepting the still-present risk of renewed flames posed by hot ashes, the blaze had been brought under control. An Ibanat helicopter continued its task of dumping water from above while one of the bureau's two water pumps was used to extract water from the sea and wet the burned land.

“A relief”
Prepared for the worst by a feed of “often terrifying” images that continued through the night, and aware of the difficult conditions that work crews on s'Espalmador faced, the president described his initial impression of the site as “a relief,” calling the situation on the ground “better than feared”. “Now it's time,” he said, “to finish putting out the flames and give thanks for the work of our associations and firefighting teams.” According to Ferrer, “the CiF has for years requested the Govern's help dealing with the pressure that our island, and the Ses Salines park in particular, face.” That pressure, he asserted, was “unreasonable” and he said the blaze was proof “changes must occur, and fast”. Ferrer also congratulated officials on their speedy apprehension of the individual responsible for causing the fire.

Fire at 10.40pm
The Formentera Council fire brigade received notification of the fire at 10.50pm. At 11.40pm firefighting crews were working to tackle the flames, which were declared “stable” at 2.25am and “controlled” at 7.45am.

Govern promises proper stewardship of Ses Salines park

foto reunio amengualThe Formentera Council's top environmental officer, Daisee Aguilera, met today with Caterina Amengual, director general of the Govern Balear's bureau of natural spaces and biodiversity, at the head office of the Formentera government. The chair of the CiF's Office of Environment thanked Amengual for a visit that came in the heart of summer and was aimed at driving home that “what the Council is asking for with regard to environmental protections is totally justified”. Aguilera nuanced her proclamation with an appeal for “immediate action,” something she said would be necessary for measures to be effective. The CiF councillor said officials in Palma agree with the Formentera Council's diagnosis of current environmental issues — a break from the previous Govern's stance — and asserted: “Now is the time to pursue ambitious projects.”

The two representatives talked about a plan to control anchorage along the entire Formentera coastline — an endeavour both say will be complex, not least because it requires the involvement of seven administration offices, though they maintained that work is being done to ensure its application across the entire island. According to Amengual, one of her department's goals is to “dignify the Ses Salines park”. She added: “Looking ahead to 2017 we want to have a dedicated staff member based on Formentera.” Amengual took the opportunity to unveil a project called “Posidònia Life arena blanca,” intended to secure European funding for the task of conserving Formentera's posidonia seagrass prairies.

Estany des Peix
Additionally, the two used the gathering to address problems at estany des Peix and define a course of action agreed by the coastal authority as well as the administrative office in charge of the Ses Salines park. According to Aguilera and Amengual, a handful of technical issues remain before the goal of “making land management on the protected area” can become a reality. Councillor Aguilera also spoke about plans to re-establish a municipal sailing school on the island. She said the new school would be located near the school's previous site, and that at present the project was pending reports concerning the network of environmentally protected sites within the Balearics.

Formentera local police tackle itinerant selling

policia local de formentera 1In a statement today, the president's office of the Formentera Council reported the island's local police force had brought charges for eight counts of itinerant selling on Formentera beaches this week. On Tuesday, August 9, law enforcement officers confiscated the following merchandise: 52 dresses, 69 shirts, 44 skirts, 70 pairs of trousers, 18 pairs of overalls, 1,074 bottles of water and 192 cans of fizzy drinks, as well as materials to make mojitos and various kinds of fruit.

According to department head Bartomeu Escandell, local police on the island carry out periodic checks to take aim at illegal hawking “and maintain order and tranquility on our beaches”. Escandell added that in recent months 18 cases of itinerant vending had been called up, including two for peddling fruit, five for drinks, eleven for clothing and one for jewellery. The councillor noted that charges had also been brought in seven cases of so-called “dynamic publicity,” which involves actively advertising on the street. Escandell said the goal of enforcement around the issue was to curtail the illegal action.

Firefighters, Ibanat form united front against local blazes

foto junts contra el focThe president's office of the Formentera Council reported today on joint training sessions conducted this week with the island's fire brigade, staff of the Balearic Islands bureau of the environment (Ibanat) and an agent from the Council's Office of Environment. The goal, explained fire chief Iván Marí, “is to ensure the entities in charge of fire containment and prevention on Formentera are ready to provide a protocol-based coordinated response should fires occur.”

Starting on Monday, August 8, with one first-response vehicle in tow, four members of Ibanat's Formentera crew took part in a forest fire simulation. The crew was joined by the CiF environment agent, who acted as head of extinguishing efforts, as well as four CiF firefighters, who made use of two large water pumps and a second first-response vehicle. The training happened between sa Roqueta and es Pujols and was a chance for participants to practise handling fire hoses and other gear. Marí said the day concluded with the trainees “sharing experiences in an effort to improve their response in real wildfires”.

Besides enhancing their own inter-office coordination, participants were reminded about how to use Formentera's code-based system of geolocation. The local fire brigade consists of six employees: four professional staff and two that are on-call. The firefighters carry out daily inspections and work with Ibanat agents to ensure individuals are on the street doing prevention work when wildfire risk is at its greatest. Marí took the opportunity to ask residents all to do their part to reduce the risk of fires, especially given the current high-level of alert on the island.

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