Madrid gives Canaries a sea plane to fight summer forest fires during hottest months

Update 24 May 2014: It has been confirmed that we will have a “fire plane” this summer, as last. It will be stationed once again in La Gomera, and will be in the islands between 1 July and 30 October. The announcement was made yesterday after meetings between island authorities, the Canarian Government, and Madrid.

Update 1 July 2013: Although there has been worrying news today about the Canarian Government withdrawing funding for the Consorcio de Bomberos, there is good news in that the hydroplane is already in the islands. Government official María del Carmen Hernández Bento presented the new plane in La Gomera airport this morning. Not a moment too soon, it seems, since the summer has only just started and there have been several fires already, one this evening in Santa Cruz mountain area of Los Campitos, on the edge of the the fabulous forested Anaga region. It was put out at 10pm tonight, and patrols will stay in the area damping down over night. Let’s hope that’ll be the worst of it this year. The best news for everyone will be that this new plane, however greatly appreciated it might be, will not need to be used.

Update 8 June: Although Madrid has refused to grant the Canaries a permanent seaplane to fight summer fires, one will, after all, be stationed here during the months of highest risk. The announcement was made today by the minister of Industria, Energía y Turismo, José Manuel Soria, himself a Canarian. We will have one between 1 July and 30 September. Hallelujah!

Original post 14 May:  In a blow for everyone who has despaired at the time wasted in getting seaplanes to these islands when forest fires are raging, the Minister of Economía, Hacienda y Seguridad, Javier González Ortiz, has announced that Madrid has rejected the Canarian Government’s request for one to be permanently based here to fight summer blazes. Sr Ortiz said that the regional Parliament had not been asking for increased resources from the national government, but simply for resources to be fairly distributed throughout the Spanish regions. As such, the Canarian Government had asked for at least one of these aircraft to be based here in the summer months to fight the devastation such fires can cause rather than for the islands to have to wait at least 20 hours for one to arrive, a delay no other region needed to suffer.

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