Junta promises reforestation aid to Bedar

The final figures released on the Bedar fire say that 374 ha of land, mainly scrub and pines, were burnt by the weekend forest fire. A great deal of the land was included within the special conservation area (LIC) of the Sierra Bedar. A number of houses – the exact number has not been released- were damaged, mainly isolated villas and cortijos around the Serena / Los Pinos area. A search of facebook will bring up a number of photos, which I shall not repeat here. The Authorities say that most of the damaged homes suffered from smoke damage, and that as the fire roared past most damage was only to the exterior of the homes.

Three people were attended for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, two at the scene and one at the local medical centre, although he was quickly discharged.

The Junta and the Diputación have already promised material and financial aid towards the cleanup and reforestation efforts. The Diputacion (akin to the county council) already has several teams working in Bedar cleaning up the mess where possible. A financial grant is being rushed through to employ local people to help in this effort.

Sonia Ferrer, the delegate of the Junta for the province, has said that she will ask the Andalucian Parliament to free up work creation funds from the recently announced 200 million cash pile to help in replanting parts of the pine forests affected. The money is already designated for such projects, and she says she does not envision too many problems in obtaining funds for this effort.

Aid is also likely to be made available to local farmers who lost trees and crops to the fire.

The fire was started “by the hand of man” and the Diario de Sevilla today quotes Sonia Ferrer as saying that the Junta’s fire inspection brigade, together with Seprona, are still investigating and collecting evidence, and that she expects the Police to bring a prosecution. The provincial delegate of the Environmental Ministry, José Manuel Ortiz, adds that whether this was accidental or intentional, if someone starts a wildfire it is a criminal act under the Penal Code and the local authorities will expect a prosecution to be bought against the culpable parties.

They both urge citizens to be extremely careful at all times when in the coutryside to not provoke fires.

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