Weather
Society 14/08/2021

Barcelona asks not to go to Collserola during heatwave

Albert Batlle recommends avoiding concentrations on beaches given the volume of users over the last few days

Clara López Alcaide
2 min
The deputy mayor for Prevention and Safety, Albert Batlle, in an archive image.

Barcelona"We ask that there are no trips to Collserola if they are not essential". This has been the appeal that the deputy mayor of Prevention and Security of the City Council of Barcelona, Albert Batlle, has launched on Friday, in the face of the heat wave that affects Catalonia and that is predicted to continue during the next days. Batlle has asked the people of Barcelona to try to "limit" their presence in the Collserola mountain range in the face of the high risk of fires due to the high temperatures. "The scenario is worrying", said the alderman, who has called the situation "critical". On Thursday the Barcelona City Council activated the municipal action plan for fire risk, which involves intensifying reinforcements to prevent new fires.

With the focus on Collserola this weekend, Batlle has recalled that the restrictions approved by the Generalitat due to the risk of fire - which affect 279 municipalities - do not allow vehicles to drive on forest tracks in the park (except if you are a resident of the city or you are going to work). Even so, it is allowed to do activities such as walking or doing sports inside the park. The operational manager of Prevention and Fire Fighting and Rescue Service (SPEIS), Victor Moliné, has indicated that lighting fires in forest land or recreational areas is forbidden.

Moliné explained that the drought suffered by the park and the heat wave elevate drastically the risk of fire, and has also asked people to minimise their presence in these areas because "about 90% of fires are due to human behavior. Since early summer there have been 17 forest fires in the city: one in Montjuic and the rest in Collserola. This is almost double the number of fires that occurred during the same period last year, when a total of 9 were declared. As for the area burned, the fires this summer have devastated a total of 17.5 hectares, 11 of which burned in the fire that took place on the Carretera Alta de las Roquetes in early June.

Closing the park is ruled out - for now

For now, however, the closure of the park is not on the table. As explained by the alderman, the weather conditions, including temperature, humidity and wind, would not justify the closure of Collserola. "For now, the conditions do not justify the absolute closure of the park, which has a logistical complexity that we are well aware of", said the alderman. Batlle, however, has not ruled out that this decision can be taken "in the hours and days ahead", since "the situation is dynamic" and is being reviewed with "the affected operators": Bombers de la Generalitat (firefighters), City Council and Agents Rurals (forest rangers). However, the final decision on the closure corresponds to the Generalitat, as indicated.

Avoid crowds on beaches

On the other hand, Batlle asked the public not to concentrate on the same areas if they go to the beach, and to avoid saturation by spreading out between the different beaches in the city. "We need to be spread out as much as possible along the entire coastline and avoid concentrating on the same beaches", he recommended. Following the pandemic, the City Council has already enabled a system to control the capacity on all the beaches of the city. Following this instrument, and as explained by the alderman, on Thursday the council had to temporarily close the Barceloneta beach due to excess visitors. He has recommended citizens to also use "other areas of the city", such as weather shelters enabled.

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