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Formentera fire brigade called into duty 27 times in 2015

RP bombers premsaPresidential cabinet councillor Bartomeu Escandell and chief of the fire brigade (els Bombers de Formentera) Iván Marí stood before members of the press today to report on the brigade’s work this year since January. As Escandell highlighted, the work of Formentera’s local firefighters deserves all the more merit this year because «despite the unusually dry weather, we were able to avert any major fires». The councillor also extended his thanks to the Ibanat (Institut Balear de la Natura), local civil protection services, the Guárdia Civil and the Formentera local police, as well as the island’s water transport companies for allowing the brigade to use their fleets at different times throughout the year.

Councillor Escandell reminded reporters of the Formentera Council’s collaboration on wildfire risk awareness campaigns devised to teach the «little steps that people can take – not throwing cigarette butts out the window – to prevent tragedies from happening in our region». The Council also takes part in other outreach campaigns, explained Escandell, like one last year that expounded the importance of creating barriers to stop flames from spreading around houses that border Formentera’s heavily-wooded areas.

A hectare of scorched land
For his part, brigade chief Marí reported that from the start of the year until 30 September his firefighters have been called into duty 102 times, five more than the same period last year. Of those incidents, 27 were fires. Seventeen of the fires were in areas of shrubbery or other vegetation – a common occurrence, he assured, during a year «made especially dangerous by the dry spell».

The brigade predicts this year nearly one hectare of land has been burned, with blazes in the majority of those incidents caused by still-lit cigarette ends. Marí called Formentera’s recent rains «a welcome change», but asserted: «We need to remain vigilant. The wildfire risk on the island is always there».

Special vigilance in Es Ram area
Among the firefighters’ different calls to duty this summer, especially harrowing was the trio of wildfires that swept through the same area of Es Ram in mid and late July. In consequence, the brigade coordinated regular passes through that part of the island throughout the summer, splitting the work between the Bombers, Protecció Civil (civil protection services) and Ibanat crews.

Els Bombers de Formentera comprise four staff members: two full-time, one part-time and a fourth who is on-call. They have a fleet of vehicles which consists of a pickup truck and two fire engines – as Councillor Escandell notes, «the Council opted for rapid-response – and not especially large – vehicles in its goal for effective fire control». He reminded the audience at the press conference that, barring any changes, the official high-risk period of the summer season will end 15 October. Pursuant to the municipal code, after that date controlled fires will once again be permitted.

Firefighters bring under control 150-sq.-metre blaze in Es Brolls

Incendi Es BrollsThe Formentera fire brigade classified as “under control” a wildfire that broke out next to a eight-metre-long motor home and its neighbouring patio. Before being put out, the flames had burned through a total of 150 square metres, nine of which were laden with Savina junipers.

Notice of the fire came at 10:54 in the evening from an off-shoot of the Es Brolls country road in Sant Ferran and by one in the morning firefighters declared the blaze under control. Brigade members, who declared the cause of the incident to be unknown, highlighted that no injuries were reported. At the scene of the emergency were three Formentera firefighters, members of the local police, civil protection forces, the Guárdia Civil and Ibanat.

Maintenance crew heads back-to-school cleaning effort at Formentera schools

brigada mantenimentThe Formentera Council office of infrastructure has ordered maintenance operations to be carried out at the three primary schools of the island — Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and la Mola. CiF councillor of infrastructure Rafael González explained the Council's goal for the project: “To have everything ready to go for the start of the school year — next Friday, 11 September”.

Coordinating their efforts with the administrations of each school, the Council maintenance crew performed the following duties: “Inside and outside painting of school buildings; checks of electrical wiring, ICT cables and toilets; and playground cleaning and maintenance”.

Replacement of fences
Moreover, twenty-eight thousand five-hundred euros will go toward “the total replacement of the fencing around the Sant Francesc school (Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andreu) and the partial replacement of fencing at schools in Sant Ferran and la Mola,” according to Councillor González. Additionally, at Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andreu CiF workers will complete construction of a new shaded area, a project with a price tag of €10,000. In additional news, the administration has recently been in talks with the Govern Balear to fast-track the different projects that the Balearic regional department of education (la conselleria d'Educació) has committed to carrying out here on the island.

Space for Farmers' Cooperative to cost Council €200,000 less than predicted

Santiago JuanThe Eivissa and Formentera local action group for rural development, whose vice-president Santi Juan also serves as the councillor of infrastructures of the Formentera Council, announced today that the island would be benefit from €200,000 in government subsidies to assist in the construction of an industrial space for local agricultural workers.

Santi Juan has indicated that the assistance package “will be funnelled toward construction of a space to be called the Formentera Cooperative ('La Cooperativa de Formentera'), of eminent importance to what has been an ongoing effort by the current administration to revitalise Formentera's countryside. Construction of the industrial space will begin immediately. What this particular subsidy means is that the financial burden of the present infrastructural improvements will be greatly reduced”.

The project to create an industrial space for the Formentera Cooperative – authored by architect Xavier Pallejà – is expected to have a total price tag of €614,000. The cooperative will be situated in Formentera's industrial park, an area just outside the town of Sant Francesc, on property that was recently acquired by the Formentera Council.

Highway maintenance services replace 300 protective fence posts along Formentera's roads

carreteresSince last Friday, 23 January, the Council of Formentera's highway maintenance crew – known as xarxa viària – has been charged with the task of fitting some 300 fence posts alongside the island's primary thoroughfare with protective casings. The casings serve to safeguard against the dangerous 'guillotine' effect that can potentially occur in the event of roadside accidents, especially those involving motorcycles and scooters.

The majority of the crew's work will involve simple replacement of pre-existing casings that have deteriorated or come off over time. So far, most have been placed along the section of highway approaching La Mola, but their installation is also planned for the Sant Francesc roundabout and segments of road near Es Caló.

The purchase of some 200 protective casings was required to supplement xarxa viària's existing stock, bringing total cost of the action to €4,200. In addition to replacing the protective casings, the highway maintenance crew is also currently switching out any deteriorated road signs as they are found.

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