This week, we have seen forest fires locally at La Mata at the weekend, then at Santa Pola. The area is now on high alert for the risk of forest fires, even though it´s only March. In fact, collected data February has already revealed that, despite some downpours, the month was one degree warmer than normal, with very dry and dusty air.
It is believed that the majority of these fires are caused by human interaction, although seldom intentional, irresponsibility can lead to devastation.
In Spain, it is estimated that more than 80% of all forest fires are caused by humans. In America incidentally the figure is as many as 90%.
Through simple awareness and action we can all do something to reduce the risks of forest fires. Taking all your rubbish home and depositing it in a safe place is one easy task. You probably remember old TV public service announcements about how glass can start a fire, but any litter can be a contributing factor to fire.
Smoking paraphernalia is perhaps the worst contributor however. Throwing a smouldering match or an almost extinguished cigarette butt is a recipe for disaster. If you do smoke, make sure that you dispose of all of your smoking materials safely and correctly, not just on the ground.
There are a variety of processes implemented to try to reduce the risk of fire, including a ban during the hottest months on farmers and industrial locations starting controlled fires, and there are also fines for individuals caught risking the threat of fire, such as throwing a cigarette out the car window?
If you do throw a cigarette out of a car window, lit or otherwise, you could be risking the lives of many people as forest fires are relentless and run so easily out of control, therefore you will be fined on the spot if you are seen.
The law is quite clear, “No person in any vehicle shall throw or discharge from or upon any road or motorway or adjoining area, public or private, any lit or non lit cigarette”.
If you do get caught you face a fine of 200 euro and 4 points deducted from your license. Do it more than once and you are getting closer to a ban.
It might seem harsh and expensive, but when you consider the damage that can be caused by laziness or sometimes simple stupidity, you might soon realise that it is not expensive at all, so please don´t do it for everybody´s sake.