If you're coming from regions where wildfires are not usual, please read this.
For those coming on holiday to Catalonia this summer, please note we're in an exceptionally dry year, even more than the previous one, and the danger of forest fires is EXTREMELY HIGH.
If you're visiting any foresty area (that includes, for example, a day escapade to Montserrat!!!!), be very vigilant, DO NOT engage in any activity that could cause a fire, and respect the signals in the forest. If it says the path is closed, do not proceed, your life could depend on that.
On a rare TV appearance earlier today, the head of our GRAF teams, from the Catalan Fire Brigade (sort of the Type 1 incident management teams in the US Fire Service) explained that we might experience a type 6 fire this year for the first time in our History here in Catalonia. Those in the know will be familiar with the concept. Suffices to say that's an inferno type of wildland fire. While wildfires are relatively common in the countries around the Mediterranean basin, most of them are relatively easy to control, but every few years you have an exceptionally complex season which can cause havoc... and 2022 seems that can be one of them.
Some advice if you are planning FOR A HIKE in any forest in Catalonia:
- It is forbidden to start any fire in the forest/rural areas during the Summer season. That includes barbeques.
- Be prepared to have to change your plans at very short notice. Check with the relevant authority whether the forest/natural park you want to visit is open to the public. In exceptional circumstances, these areas might be closed to public access (hikers, cyclists...). Understandably you might not be familiar with these administrative issues here, so ask your hotel front desk to find out for you. If you are not in a hotel, one way to find this out is to call 1-1-2 (they can serve in a range of languages) and ask. They might redirect you to a different service.
- Follow the indications on the post signs located on the main forest paths. If the path is closed, turn around, do not proceed.
- If you see smoke immediately call 1-1-2 (Emergency telephone)
- Our Fire Service is very good and very professionalized, they know what to do, always follow their instructions if you get caught in a wildfire.
Needless to say, this warning is not only centred in Catalonia but extends to all the Mediterranean basin regions, from l'Algarve in Portugal to Andalucia or Valencia in Spain to the South of Italy, Greece or Türkiye among others.
Hey, needless to say, this should NOT significantly alter your plans, you just need to keep INFORMED on the developments, be AWARE, be VIGILANT and act RESPONSIBLY when hiking. I do regularly hike with my dog and I won't stop this year (unless the Government of Catalonia says so), neither should you, just be in the know.
Thank you, and enjoy your visit.