Fire alert

Camping and hiking banned in 275 Catalan municipalities due to fire risks

Measures will last four days, and nine massifs will also be closed due to the heat wave

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Some forests of the Penedès in an archive image.

BarcelonaThe heat wave that is already noticeable in Catalonia will reach its peak this weekend and the Generalitat will apply measures in areas with the highest risk of fires. There are 275 municipalities in 20 counties that will be at level 3 of the Alfa plan, the maximum alert. In these areas camping and hiking will be banned from Friday until Monday, as will sporting activities in the natural environment. All this will only be allowed in inhabited areas. As for summer camps, sports stays and equivalent activities, they will not be allowed to leave the surroundings of the buildings where they are staying. These are two measures which, unlike the rest, will start being applied this Friday at 12 noon.

The other restrictions are the prohibition of agricultural activities involving the use of machinery between noon and 6 pm, except for picking fruit and horticultural products, harvesting alfalfa and other grass which is harvested green, tilling stubble fields and rice cultivation. It also limits the circulation of transport of forest products within the forest between noon and 7 pm, as well as all motorised traffic in the natural environment of the affected municipalities – only residents and urgent activities are exempted. The maximum alert due to fire risk also forces nine massifs to be closed to the public: Montgrí, Cap de Creus, L'Albera, Les Gavarres, Montsec de Ares, Montsec de Rúbies, Baronia de Rialp, Montserrat and Sant Llorenç del Munt and L'Obac.

In addition, works and interventions on the roads of Catalonia are suspended, including the mowing of roadsides, unless authorised by the Servei Català de Trànsit. The use of blowtorches, radial saws and similar equipment is restricted to over 500 metres from forest areas and over 50 metres from agricultural land; if there is an absolute necessity to use this equipment, permission must be requested first. The counties affected by the measures – not in their entirety – are, in alphabetical order: Alt Empordà, Alt Penedès, Alt Urgell, Anoia, Bages, Baix Empordà, Baix Llobregat, Baix Penedès, Barcelonès, Garraf, Gironès, Maresme, Moianès, Noguera, Pallars Jussà, Pla de l'Estany, Segarra, Solsonès, Vallès Occidental, Vallès Oriental. The prevention measures are also recommended in the rest of the country, albeit not mandatory.