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Catalan firefighters praised as an “international example” at the International Wildland Fire Safety Summit

The Home Affairs Minister, Jordi Jané, praised on Tuesday the hard work of the brave men and women of the firefighter corps in Catalonia. In his speech at the opening of the 14th edition of the International Wildland Fire Safety Summit, organised for the first time in Barcelona, Jané also promised “more resources and more investment” to fight wildfires. The International Wildland Fire Safety Summit gathers together more than 300 experts and members of the global wildland fire community to discuss best practices in safety and training operations and to explore new approaches. Amongst them, leading members of the emergency services of the United States, Israel, Australia, Portugal, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Spain. The event is organised by the Fundació Pau Costa and the International Association of Wildland Fire from the USA, in close collaboration with the Catalan Government and the University of Barcelona.

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31 January 2017 02:53 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan Home Affairs Minister, Jordi Jané, praised on Tuesday the hard work of the brave men and women of the firefighter corps in Catalonia. In his speech at the opening of the 14th edition of the International Wildland Fire Safety Summit, organised for the first time in Barcelona, Jané also promised “more resources and more investment” to fight wildfires. The International Wildland Fire Safety Summit gathers together in Barcelona more than 300 experts and members of the global wildland fire community to discuss best practices in safety and training operations and to explore new approaches. Amongst them, leading members of the emergency services of the United States, Israel, Australia, Portugal, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Spain. The event is organised by the Fundació Pau Costa and the International Association of Wildland Fire from the USA, in close collaboration with the Catalan Government and the University of Barcelona.


Catalonia was chosen as the capital of the global fight wildfires because it is, in fact, one of the European regions more affected by them. With more than 60% of its territory being forest mass, eight million inhabitants and a severe population increase during summer due to the tourist season, Catalonia has also a lot of experience in fighting fires that affect interurban areas or residential states. These are usually very quick and intense fires that demand a great deal of experience from firefighters and a fast decision-making process in order to be extinguished.

That is why Catalonia’s fire department has been praised both home and abroad as exemplary. In fact, the Catalan Government Fire Brigade was awarded in Idaho (USA) in 2015 with the Wildland Fire Safety Award in recognition of its contribution to the wildland firefighter community. The prize is granted once a year to members of the firefighting community from all around the world and the Catalan firefighters were the first Europeans to receive it. They were recognised for their work of analysis, research and dissemination of the lessons learnt by the brigade after a violent wildfire in Horta de Sant Joan in the summer of 2009 killed five Catalan firefighters, amongst them, Pau Costa, after whom the foundation is named.

“We learnt a lot from that big catastrophe”, said the Catalan Minister during his speech, paying tribute to the five firefighters who died. “That is why this Summit is so important: we need to share techniques and experiences to learn more”, he stressed. “I want to congratulate the Catalan Brigade for their huge experience, for their contribution. They are an international example”, the minister pointed out, saying that the “memory” of those who gave their life for the security of others should help authorities to focus on “more resources and more investment” because “investing in firefighters’ security is investing in everyone’s security”. 

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  • Two firefighters during a wildfire in Catalonia (by ACN)

  • Two firefighters during a wildfire in Catalonia (by ACN)