It seems we are hearing news of the Javea fires again! I call it news but ever so loosely, as my reckoning is this is just another rumor doing the rounds. Be it fact or fiction (I’ll go with the latter), it does however bring this matter back to the forefront.
Who among us really knows what is true and what’s not? We’ve all been left with the possibilities, the rumours and the theories, but it seems, to me anyway, that we have not, or will not be given the facts on what really happened on that night, and the subsequent days that followed – not yet anyway.
It’s understandable that forensics, good old detective work, and general policing has to be factored in to the time that has lapsed, but has this event all but disappeared – never to be mentioned again? Or are we just waiting with anticipation for the outcome, the evidence… the answers? After all, as residents we have a right to know don’t we? Especially those that lost homes and belongings.
On that night, the questions came thick and fast:
Q: HOW did (at least eight) separate fires breakout in areas of woodland, wasteland and park areas dotted in and around Javea, Benitachell and Pinosol within a few hours of each other – some at the same time?
Let’s not forget these are volunteers and the training in this respect, is seemingly non-existent for them. And no one can fault the tireless work performed during this time by all parties involved. I will get to the ‘Fire Prevention’ in a while, but first let’s deal with this … or at least try to.
The Fire & Rescue service is not regulated at National level in Spain.
A local municipal (competence) law dating back to 1985 states, that a town exceeding 20,000 inhabitants, must have and is responsible for, establishing their own Fire Brigade. Three years ago this law changed to include towns whose inhabitants were less than this figure. I wonder how they coped before 2013? Most, not all, autonomous communities have regulated in their civil protection act, some aspects of fire protection.
Spain: Distribution of Fire response resources (on average):
Only 60% of Spain’s Fire Services have a training department. And only 20% have a FIRE INVESTIGATION department. Is this another funding issue, or just an unnecessary one?
According to Spanish F&R S Task case file reports when investigating origin and cause of fire – Few services perform it systematically due to the lack of training and education provided in respect to forest fires, and is generally left to police and insurance companies. Why is more money not forthcoming for these areas in the fire service…. Government?
No common legal frame exists, and costing’s are not rationalised as these decisions are made politically by organisations with board member purse-string holders where they produce little or no inventory for spending. Again…Government?
The rumours as we know have been circulating and edging toward the fact that these fires were deliberate for whatever reason. I guess that was one hell of a cigarette after all, the same one that remained lit for an entire week too.
But most of us also heard at some time or other about the subsequent arrests (if at all) of a group of young men, who by all accounts, simultaneously set the fires on a “paid” spree. Following that, we also heard that this was planned by “unknowns” for a benefit we are not privy to, but guessed at nonetheless. That’s right those dear old puppet masters of government tugging at the proverbial municipal strings to make the point… “We mean business and we want your land.” Yes, this sounds far-fetched, and yes the conspiracy theoretical backlash followed reminiscent to that of a public shaming. But is this really so unbelievable? I’m not dis-believing it, and frankly… the longer this goes unanswered – the greater my own belief toward it increases.
I came across this…
The regional and state regulations, regarding forest laws, state that preventative measures must be taken in order to prevent forest fires (Royal Decree 893/2013 the 15 November, the basic guideline of planning for emergency civil protection adopted for use against forest fires.) (DECREE 58/2013, of 3 May, of the Consell, by which Territorial Forest Plan of Action of Valencia is approved. [2013/4617.)
Have the rules been ignored? Abandoned even? After all, this is a legal requirement! So what happened?
I mentioned the fact that we as residents already have an obligation toward prevention on our land, but where does that come into play for the owners of public or private buildings that are left unmanaged; What about the private owners of fincas in wooded areas or urbanisations which are not yet fully completed or abandoned? Don’t get me started on public land – public mountain areas and completed developments with public roads that border woodland.
Needless to say, we may not know why they have not carried out prevention work in public / private forested areas that are in full view, but you have to wonder if this legislation requires any plan whatsoever when it comes to the protection of its citizens. Okay, we all know of the dangers, and we are all adult enough to understand the implications that an overgrown garden/wooded area can mean to gutless arsonists. But us? Where do we factor in all of this?
To finalize, the ‘decreto de ayudas’ – the aid which is offered to those who have suffered as a result of the fires. Yes, there was some help, and yes, you had to qualify or match the criteria enough to warrant that help. I’m sure many had insurance, and maybe even a few that did not.
The world is full of master manipulators and people with hidden agendas driven by their own intensity for greed. Most of which go through life taking from those in vulnerable positions. But that does not mean we have to become like them to win – we have to become better people because of it.
Without questions we will never be afforded the answers we seek.