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Major risk of forest fires in Comunidad Valenciana

THE regional government of the Comunidad Valenciana has issued a pre-emergency warning over forest fire risk in the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.

In light of extremely high temperatures and the possibility of thunder and lightning predicted by the State meteorological agency, AEMET, the Generalitat Valenciana has issued an alert at level three – just short of a state of emergency – over the chances of forest fires occurring.

Whilst mostly affecting inland areas, the government believes that the Marina Alta and Marina Baixa districts of the northern Costa Blanca – encompassing major tourist hotspots such as Dénia, Jávea, Calpe, Teulada, Benissa, Benidorm, Altea, Albir and La Vila Joiosa – are under threat.

The Vinalopó valley, which includes Elche, Elda, Novelda and Villena, plus the Alcoy and Alicante areas are at risk.

In the province of Valencia, fires could strike in the Vall d’Albaida, Canal de Navarrés, Ayora valley, Utiel and Requena, Los Serranos and the Rincón de Ademuz.

There is also grave danger of fires in the countryside surrounding larger villages and towns both on the coast and inland, such as Gandia, Cullera, Sueca, Carcaixent, Oliva, Xàtiva, and Ontinyent.

Walkers and drivers are asked not to throw down lighted cigarette butts, begin bonfires or barbecues, and those in high-risk rural areas should chorus from cooking paellas or using barbecues on their terraces.

They are also asked not to dispose of bottles or other glass items, since the sun’s reflection can cause flames to ignite.

Anyone found to have started a forest fire either deliberately or through negligence – even missing walkers lighting flares – can face multi-million fines and prison sentences.

Those who encounter a fire are advised to throw water, sand or earth at its base, or belt it with a green tree-branch.

If the flames are not extinguished within approximately one minute, the person who discovers the fire should call 112 and alert the fire brigade.

The emergency number, 112, has English- and German-speaking operators if required.