MEP Soraya Rodríguez launches measures after the Sierra de la Culebra (Zamora) disaster: sixth generation fires cannot be tackled with 1990 methods.
Soraya Rodríguez, Ciudadanos MEP and Environment spokesperson, has taken the devastating fire in the Sierra de la Culebra in Zamora to the European Parliament’s plenary session, where she called for European solidarity with those affected, as well as launching a series of urgent measures to deal with the sixth generation of fires: the methods of the 1990s are no longer useful. “We need solidarity in the face of disasters, but our obligation is not to declare them but to prevent them” she noted.
The Liberal MEP took advantage of the debate in Strasbourg on the recent heatwave and drought to denounce what happened and to ask for help for this area of Castilla y León, the activation of all the mechanisms and the European Solidarity Fund.
“In the first heatwave we experienced, between 11 and 19 June, in my region, in Zamora, in the Sierra de la Culebra, there was one of the most devastating fires in Spain, more than 24,000 hectares burned, the entire economic structure of the area destroyed,” the Valladolid MEP told the plenary. The disaster has been environmental, economic and social, and measures must be taken to recover what has been lost, said Soraya Rodríguez, but especially to prevent it from happening again. The MEP recently called in a letter to the European Commission for an urgent summit of EU environment ministers to face up to the reality of the situation and take decisions, and today she recalled this initiative.
She has urged the European Commission to update the Civil Protection Plan for emergencies due to forest fires. The goal should be to keep fire fighting operations active all year round, intensify and coordinate preparations for each fire season, professionalize firefighting crews, recognize the category of forest firefighters, and carry out prevention campaigns in winter to get rid of combustible material.
The MEP also demanded that minimum provisions be established per wooded area and that alert levels be activated according to weather forecasts, not according to pre-set monthly periods, in such a way that it does not happen again that they are not 100% activated in maximum risk conditions as happened in the Sierra de La Culebra. Finally, Soraya Rodríguez has asked the European Commission for a European reforestation plan that includes suitable species to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.