Malaga – Costa del Sol | Infoca’s firefighting plan kicks off in Andalusia with the prospect of a “quite busy” summer ahead

Forest firefighters during the Jubrique fire last summer. / infoca

Spring rains moistened the ground but vegetation has grown considerably and is a fire hazard now that it has dried out

The heavy rains in March may have moistened the ground, but they also produced a lot of vegetation and it becomes a fire hazard when it dries up in the summer. Temperatures are already starting to rise and this, combined with the fact that this year there have already been twice as many forest fires as last year, (30 against 15) has brought the fire prevention service of Infoca to plan for a “fairly busy season” ahead. The high-risk season for wildfires began on Wednesday, June 1.

This year, 498 people are part of the Infoca service in the province of Malaga, including firefighters, administrative employees, staff of the Environment and Water Agency, doctors, pilots and mechanics.

In the province, Infoca has three helicopters to move the firefighters to where they need to be and to throw water on the fires, and two amphibious planes based at Malaga airport and deployed wherever necessary. In total, the service has 41 aircraft in Andalusia.

On land in the province of Malaga there are 13 heavy fire trucks, 61 4x4s for personnel transport, a mobile meteorology and communications unit and a mobile analysis and planning unit.

When a fire breaks out, everything is coordinated by the Provincial Operations Center of the city of Malaga. The service also includes the Infoca Specialized Brigade (Brica) which is based in Cártama and is one of three Andalusian bases along with those of Granada and Seville. Their units are the first to be sent to provide reinforcements in other provinces.

There are also two forest defense centers and 19 observation posts at the highest points. A new base for the Emergency Group of Andalusia (GREA) is currently under construction in Benahavís, the contract for a new “Cedefo” center in Istán will be put out to tender in the near future and a forest defense sub-center is planned in Yunquera.

Drones will be used this year

This summer, the Infoca plan includes four drones that will support firefighters at night, when planes cannot fly. One of the drones takes off and lands vertically and flies horizontally as if it were an airplane, giving greater coverage and autonomy. There is also a ground drone that can go anywhere to create firewalls or open corridors for firefighters in the field to use.