The high price of complacency

Picture courtesy of Grupo Comunicating on Flickr (public domain license)

THE fire that ravaged the landscape in the Vall d’Ebo was the most recent in a long trail of destruction that is gradually reducing the finest beauty spots in the Costa Blanca to an ash-strewn wasteland.
Remarkably, the Generalitat Valenciana has no plans in place to tighten the regulations concerning the burning of stubble despite the practice being the main cause of forest fires.
Minister of the Interior Luis Santamaria revealed on Wednesday May 20 that the day after the Vall d’Ebo fire, the Guardia Civil had to intervene to stop no less than six agricultural fires. He admitted that a specific regulatory action to address such activities is not in place, adding that the ministry is not the only regulatory body with authority in such matters, pointing out that Seprona also has a role to play. He also stated that complaints to farmers who burn stubble in unfavourable conditions rarely lead to fines.
As the residents of Pego and the surrounding area begin to report and quantify the extent of the damage, it is becoming clear that many of the Costa Blanca’s beauty spots so popular with hikers and cyclists and so valuable in terms of sport tourism, are now reduced to a barren, sooty wasteland. The Vall d’Ebo fire alone wiped out 1,715 hectares in the Marina Alta. Local hunting associations are also compiling estimates on the loss of wildlife and flora in the region.
Mayor Enrique Moll of Pego has requested that the Vall d’Ebo be declared a disaster area and has applied for funding to help with the recovery of the landscape.

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