What happened in the Torre de l´Espanyol fire this summer ?: Technical Description here
The fire goes out with agriculture and livestock. Betting on living off the land and consuming your products is betting on a safer landscape against forest fires. If we do not manage the territory, it will not matter how many firefighters and resources are sent. The fire will not go out.
This summer in the south of Catalonia one of the worst fires with the greatest burning potential of the last 20 years was lived. The fire began on July 26, 2019 and burned until 4000 hectares in just five hours. Despite what happened, experts point out that could have burned much more surface. He came to burn a total of 6000 hectares, instead of the 20 thousand that could have burned, but the crops would have been.
Precisely, this was one of the ideas that stood out most during the Field day held last fall and conducted by Marc Castellnou: the importance of crops and agricultural mosaic as a measure of prevention and extinction of forest fires.
In the following lines we present some of the most outstanding ideas that were extracted from this meeting. If you are interested in more detailed information about what happened in the Torre de l´Espanyol, you can find it in the Lessons On Fire. *
Some information of interest of the fire of the Ribera del Ebre (Torre de l´Espanyol)
- The fire coincided with the three warmer days than there were in Europe. In Llardecans a temperature of 51ºC, while in the Montsant valley of about 48ºC.
- The fire began with a strong Garbino wind (40-60km / h), and with gusts of about 90 km / h.
- In general, when the Garbino wind is strong, it is grooved in the direction of the Ebro valley, but when it calms down, it is channeled through the secondary valleys causing an upward wind movement from the Ebro towards the Granadella mountain range. East movement could be seen in the fire of The Torre de l´Espanyol, and it is what differentiates the first day with the rest.
- No it was a fire of sixth generation. The sixth generation fires are characterized by their speed and their erratic behavior, which generates real firestorms, that is to say Pirocumulunimbus. This was not the case.
- On July 26, 2019 there was a reinforced Garbino wind. The extreme heat wave over the Mediterranean in contrast to the Atlantic coldness caused a synoptic garbino. The first day, the fire was driven by a direct wind, and from 26 at night it was a classic Garbino topographic wind, just like the historical fires of the Ebro Palm or Margalef.
Land and air resources were used to evacuate to all the people who were in that moment in danger. In fact, it was the first time that Bombers of the Generalitat used aerial means for the evacuation in forest fires. The goal of extinction was to close The Torre de l´Espanyol to the flat to close the entrance of the fire towards the Bisbal de Falset, and thus avoid a fire of 20 thousand hectares.
The convective column of the right flank was cut, to prevent the fire from reaching the homes that were on the Bovera road. Fire maneuvers were made on the C-12 to prevent the jump from the C-12. Also, hand tools were used, including technical fire. At night, the troops worked intensely defining and anchoring the perimeter to the tracks and the crops.
The mosaic landscape, the solution to fires
The crops served to prevent the fire from advancing and becoming larger. Also, the importance of including fire risk in the CAP measures was stressed.
It was also noted that currently only 1% of the población is dedicated to agricultural sector This means that a derisory percentage of the Spanish population provides security to the remaining 99%. Dato, which he mentioned again Marc Castellnou, En a interview which they did recently in Catalunya Radio highlighting the importance of the rural economy
Likewise, Marc Castellnou He emphasized the importance of prevention by providing the following information: «For every € 0,002 allocated to the management of the territory, € 1 is saved in emergency management». In addition, he said that people, who are dedicated to security (such as firefighters) do not want more trucks or resources. You want, a safe landscape, where you can work. Castellnou recalled that he has gone from 5% of forest area to 70% in the last century.
* Link to the technical description in the Lessons On Fire: https://lessonsonfire.eu/en/document/caso-del-incendio-de-torre-de-lespanyol-2019-el-fuego-se-apaga-con-la-economia-rural