Mallorca is currently at a heightened risk of forest fires due to the dry weather conditions and increasing temperatures. The vegetation has become more susceptible to burning, particularly during windy days. Unfortunately, there is no relief in sight, as there are no signs of significant precipitation or cooler temperatures. The island is in serious danger of experiencing another catastrophic fire.
Regrettably, this apprehension became a reality on April 25th when a fire erupted in Andratx. The conflagration started at noon in the very same location where the largest fire ever registered in the Serra de Tramuntana transpired a decade ago. Emergency services received numerous calls alerting them to a plume of smoke emanating from a private estate in the Sa Coma area, which is situated in close proximity to the Andratx local police headquarters.
The emergency teams were struck with a haunting sense of déjà vu as they recalled the tragic events of July 26, 2013, when temperatures soared to a scorching 38 degrees. That day, the island witnessed the most catastrophic forest fire in living memory, which ravaged over 2,600 hectares of forest land in Andratx, Estellencs, and Calvià, putting the emergency teams to the test for 18 long days. The fire left in its wake a trail of destruction, particularly affecting La Trapa, a natural treasure nestled in the Serra de Tramuntana.
Consequently, the management of forests poses a significant challenge for Mallorca and the other islands.
Furthermore, in the current climate crisis, our forests play an indispensable role in regulating the carbon cycle, capturing approximately one million tonnes of CO2 annually in the Balearic Islands. They also have a critical function in shielding against natural disasters by stabilising the soil, averting erosion, floods, and landslides. Nonetheless, without effective management, the forests remain susceptible to catastrophic fires, particularly in light of the island’s limited water resources.
To sum up, it is imperative to prioritise proper management to safeguard the forests, which are an invaluable asset for the Balearic Islands. Given their role in regulating the carbon cycle and safeguarding against natural disasters, it is essential to take accountability for protecting the forests and thwarting future forest fires. By adopting sustainable forest management practices, we can ensure the conservation of the Balearic Islands’ forests for generations to come.