They arrived two weeks ago in Canada to help put out a bunch of big fires and will have to leave without being able to see them put out. And the first day when they went down it was raining and I thought that would put an end to the fire. But this is not the case. It’s one of the lessons learned by the 26 Infocam workers who were cooperating with the North American country directly. “They tell us they’ve had a fire all summer,” explains Pepe Almodóvar, one of the coordinators of the Castilian-La Mancha organ. He explains that there they are counting on the fact that it cannot be completely extinguished until the end of summer and heavy rain or snow arrives. This was relayed to the Chairman of the Board, Emiliano García-Page, with whom he was able to speak this morning by videoconference.
He says there are already four fires and the affected area is already 200,000 hectares. Dimensions are the ones that run in Canada for specific goals, such as “marathons”. “They envision the emergency in the very long term, they take the potential out of the fire, they control which side they don’t want you to advance,” he explains. He says, for example, that five days ago the fire became too complex with the risk of “extreme behaviour” or that they had two days where there was so much smoke that they could not be extinguished, but rather by making safer and more specific processes, on For example, infrastructure protection.
That smoke has cleared today and the Castilian-La Mancha group hopes to be able to go into the crater on the last day and work out the fire area’s extinction. He says that their role was in the Quebec region, where they worked to light a fire of about 40,000 hectares. He explains that it was their turn to intervene above all in the northwest, although they were following the objectives set for them by their Canadian overseers. All of the Spanish forces operate on fire and share a base. They were, precisely, with the Murcians, Catalans, and Madrid, and with the brigades of the Ministry.
“In Canada they tell us they have a fire all summer long” – Image: Javier Pozo
Baby Paige confirmed: “We came to the Champions League because of the wildfires and we play like a Champions League team, they already know us, they know how we work.” He explains that there are many differences between Canadian forests and those of Castilian-La Mancha. On the other hand, plant species are different. There is also plenty of water available to work with, as the country is filled with lakes and ponds. But perhaps one of the most affecting circumstances is that in these forests “there is a huge layer of soil, and it contains a great quantity of mulch” which greatly complicates the work. He explains that they are hard-to-reach areas, with no roads, and that they work with very small groups that are flown in by helicopter.
Asked by the President of Castilla-La Mancha which area of the region compares to what they watch in Canada, the curator replied that “probably the closest thing to a mob fire in the underground of Las Tablas de Daimiel in 2009”. which lasted a month and a half.
García Paige took advantage of his intervention to say he feels “very proud” of the work they’re doing. He said that when Canada asked Europe for help, they were clear that they wanted Castilla-La Mancha to come to their aid. “It is important to me as president that the image we project is very positive,” he said. He pointed out that this matter goes beyond embassies, agencies or major companies.
Page indicated that he made it clear to the Minister of Sustainable Development that the council was ready to send forces as long as the device in the region remained unprotected in the event of a series of heat waves. That is why he also asked the coordinator in Canada about the development of the fire, because it leaves the door open to study a new collaboration with the North American country this summer if necessary.