The Balearic government will spend 700 million pesetas on the prevention of forest fires this year, according to environment minister Margalida Rosselló. She was speaking yesterday after a meeting to co-ordinate the fire prevention effort, attended by representatives of all the organisations involved in this task. The purpose of the meeting was to co-ordinate action to be taken this summer. The organisations involved are the Guardia Civil, civil defence, the Army and Air Force, the Majorcan fire brigade, the Calvia and Palma town councils, the National Police, the government representative's office, the 112 emergency service, Gesa (the gas and electricity board), Emaya (the water board), the Port Authority and Tragsa. Rossello said that her department is maintaining the prevention campaign all year round, and to this purpose has increased the number of personnel and equipment available. She said that this year's budget of 700 million pesetas is 90 million more than last year. She added that this year, a helicopter which will be based in Majorca all year round has been contracted. There is also a new Air Tractor plane based at Son Bonet which can reach the furthermost points of Minorca and Formentera in less than 30 minutes with a load of 3'100 litres of water. During the summer, Minorca will also have its own fire-fighting plane. The number of fire spotters will be maintained, but the number of forestry workers will be increased. Two new watchtowers will also be built, Rossello said, one in Majorca and one in Ibiza. The ministry will also set up a nocturnal watch system which will provide 24-hour surveillance for forest fires during the periods of most risk.

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