CASTELLÓ, Sep 11 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Generalitat’s forest fire service found three shells from the Civil War without exploding during the work to extinguish the fire in Bejís.
According to the firefighters, this is a common situation that they have encountered for years, especially in areas like this belonging to the XYZ territory or the Metallana line, one of the largest defensive lines built in Spain and which retains many remnants of the battles still unexploded, said the Generalitat in a statement.
Two of the artifacts were found in the middle of the Bejís fire extinguishment by the Zarra and Enguera forest firefighters unit, in Andilla, and by the Castellón helicopter unit at the El Toro military base. The third was detected this weekend by cyclists who warned the Vest unit, then on a surveillance mission in the burnt area.
The head of the Jérica forest firefighters unit, José Vicente Bolumar, pointed out that “already in the year 2000, during a fire in Jérica, detonations were heard throughout the night from an old magazine , or in 2020, during another fire in Bejís, the firefighters found an unexploded grenade and when the Civil Guard arrived, they discovered another”.
The XYZ territory, also known as the Metallana line in honor of the colonel who commanded the armies that built it, included 42 Valencian municipalities located in five counties. Specifically, 40 of them are in Castellón and range from Montán to Villamalur, Azuébar, Bejís, Teresa, Navajas, Segorbe or Vall d’Uixó.
SOLUTIONS AND PROTOCOL TO FOLLOW
Faced with this dangerous situation, which is added to that faced by forest firefighters to put out a fire like the one in Bejís, Bolumar pointed out that several solutions can be found.
“One of them, already applied in Germany, where there are many traces of weapons from the Second World War, is the prescribed burning of places where ammunition is known to be, which will allow them to be detonated in a controlled manner,” he explained.
Likewise, the head of the Jérica unit pointed out that “preliminary work must be carried out before the fire and delimit on the map where there have been fires and where there have not been since the end of the civil war”. “In this way, by crossing the data with the history of fires declared in the Valencian Community which includes the prevention of forest fires, it will be possible to know with certainty where there have been no fires and what would be the area with the greatest risk of exploding war material,” he said.
DATA CROSSED WITH THE ARMY
“In this fire we have seen that precisely where the war material has been most exploited, it is where there has not been a fire since 1936, because it was an agricultural territory which, after rural abandonment, was reforested by Icona in the 1950s and, therefore, it was the first time these forests had burned since then,” Bolumar said.
In this sense, he said that “another alternative would be to cross-check the data with the army and point out the areas that have already been burned and exploded and differentiate them from the hot areas where there was a lot of activity during the civil war. in order to locate them quickly and deal with extinction in a more careful way.”
The action protocol in those cases where war material is found boils down to “not touching the device, cordoning off the area, moving away from it and calling the Civil Guard’s explosives deactivation service to proceed with its detonation in a controlled manner”, he concluded.