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The Armed Forces begin their deployment in the Operation ‘Centinela Gallego 23’ against forest fires

August 14, 2023
  •   The operational deployment of land patrol and unmanned aircraft system will be active from 15th August to 30th September in the Autonomous Region of Galicia


A total of 30 patrols, made up of members of the Army and Marine Corps, start the operation ‘Centinela Gallego’, which will be active between the 15th August and the 30th September, under the operational control of the Operations Command.

The patrols composed of personnel from the 7th Galicia Brigade – BRILAT, in Spanish –, which are twenty-five (25) in total, will be in charge of the surveillance of the regions of Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. The other five (5) patrols, made up of the Marine Corps of the Tercio Norte (TERNOR) of the Navy and based in Ferrol, will monitor the southern area of the region of A Coruña. Apart from their deployment in the area, an Air Policing unit carrying out their tasks in daytime/night time with the remotely piloted aircrafts will be involved in the operation.

It must be highlighted that land patrols will carry out their surveillance and deterrence work in a total of thirty-eight (38) municipalities (five more than in 2022), which  are distributed in eighth (8) forest districts (one more than the previous year), as stated in the agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence and the Xunta de Galicia (the local government). As requested by the Xunta de Galicia, the patrols’ effort in each area could be modified and varied in order to adapt to the specific risk assessment.

The military units will serve under the operational control of the Operations Command, whereas the General Pardo de Santayana will act as chief of all the military forces taking part in the operation.

The most significant data from the operation carried out during 2022 is that a total of 85 vehicles of different models were used. They travelled 320,000 kilometres and carried out near 5,600 patrol services both in presence tasks in the municipalities and in surveillance tasks from different observatories. Likewise, a total of 11,000 minutes of day/night time surveillance and observation in the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems, reaching the end of the operation with a balance of more than 80 sightings reported to the Xunta de Galicia.

This year, on 28th July, the presentation of the operation took place at the facilities of the Helitransport Patrol Base of the Xunta. The event was presided by the counsellor of Rural Development, José González, and was attended by the delegate of Galicia’s local government, Pedro Blanco, and the head of the 7th Galicia Brigade, General Alfonso Pardo de Santayana Galbis, among other civil and military authorities. 

The support of the Armed Forces to the Xunta de Galicia provides clear evidence of the strong commitment in both support activities to  civil authorities and in environmental actions, which, so far, has had a positive impact on the activities aimed at forest fire prevention.