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Periodista del EMAD

Operation 'Centinela Gallego 2023' to prevent forest fires comes to an end

October 1, 2023
  • The Armed Forces have collaborated in surveillance and dissuasion tasks in 38 Galician municipalities, with the deployment of ground patrols and unmanned aerial devices.

Operation "Cenitnela gallego 23" has resulted in 30 incident sightings reported to the Xunta de Galicia.  During this campaign, the Armed Forces, under the operational control of the Operations Command, have deployed 30 land patrols and unmanned aerial means of the Army and the Navy with the aim of carrying out surveillance, deterrence and prevention of fires in 38 Galician municipalities, spread over a total of 8 forest districts, as established in the agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence and the Xunta de Galicia for this year 2023. The local authorities consider that the balance has been very positive.

In this campaign, which is now coming to an end, the number of fires in Galicia can be considered exceptionally low: they have been few and of little importance. Despite the unpredictability of forest fires, it is important to stress that the extinguishing systems are working better and that there is greater awareness in society. In addition, the rains in September have brought a certain degree of calm to all the surveillance, prevention and extinguishing services.

The operation began on 15 August and ended on 1 October with the redeployment of all personnel to the home bases of the participating units. During the month and a half of the operation, around 100 soldiers per day were deployed, using a total of 40 vehicles of different models. A total of 275,000 kilometres have been covered and around 2,500 patrols have been carried out, both in terms of presence in municipalities and surveillance at different observatories.

In addition, a total of 2,500 minutes of surveillance and observation were carried out with the use of remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS). The role played by the RAVEN system, a much lighter and more versatile system, which is already a tradition in the operation, is particularly noteworthy. The use of these aerial means improves the use of prevention teams, considerably reduces their reaction times and optimises the decision-making process on the ground.

Personnel and resources from the "Galicia" VII Brigade (BRILAT) and the Tercio Norte of the Marine Infantry, which belongs to the Navy and is based in Ferrol, participated in Operation Centinela Gallego 2023. A total of 25 BRILAT patrols and five TERNOR patrols took part in the deployment.

The military units have acted under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS), deployed in the areas assigned by the Xunta de Galicia in the four Galician provinces, a total of 38 municipalities of the Galician geography in 8 forest districts.

Both the regional administration and the local authorities are grateful to the Armed Forces for their involvement in the fight against forest fires in Galicia, highlighting the link between the Armed Forces and society. The military deployed throughout the territory transmit security to the population and constitute an indispensable reinforcement in times of high risk for the means available to the Xunta and other public administrations.

It is worth highlighting the good harmony with all the local authorities and those in charge of the Xunta. Our Armed Forces are able to operate in all types of environments and to integrate into civilian structures responsible for firefighting, such as coordination centres, both at regional and provincial level.

During this month and a half, the deployed personnel have shown their vocation of service to Spanish society by becoming sentinels of the Galician mountains, ensuring the protection of the natural heritage that Galicia treasures, establishing close and cordial contact with the civilian population and giving visibility to the commitment of the Armed Forces to the citizens as an element of union and solidarity among Spaniards.