EU-funded air base to step up Spanish-Portuguese fight against forest fires

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Ourense, Spain, Jul 9 (EFE) .- An air base to be built with European funds in the Spanish town of Verín hopes to become a benchmark in the joint Spanish-Portuguese fight against the increasingly devastating forest fires that strike southern Galicia and northern Portugal every year.

The project, with a budget of 9.1 million euros, was launched last March following a meeting of the management committee of the Interreg Spain-Portugal cross-border cooperation program (POCTEP).

The implementation period ends in 2022 and the initiative, led by the Xunta de Galicia, also involves the governments of Castilla y León and Extremadura, as well as Portugal.

The province of Ourense was chosen as the site of the air base because of the frequency of forest fires that hit Galicia and Portugal each year, the support of European funds for these regions and the proximity to the river.

Over the past decade, Galicia and, in particular, the province of Ourense have dominated all lists in Spain both in number of intentional fires and in areas burned.

Galicia has exceeded 200,000 hectares burned in the last 10 years, while the province of Ourense has recorded half of the main forest fires in the community and almost half of the total area burned (49%).

Of the 35 parishes identified by the Galician government as having the highest fire activity, 27 belong to Ourense. EFE

lrt / ks / lv


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