Wildland firefighters in Spain strike as fires burn

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It was only a few days ago that we told you about some wildland firefighters in Spain, the BRIF (reinforcement brigade forest fire). Now they are on strike.

Below is an excerpt from an article at The Local:


“Over 800 people were evacuated from the villages of Ca l’Esteve, El Bosc Gran and Monserrat Parc in Ódena near Barcelona, after wildfires broke out over the weekend.

At least 1,000 hectares of vegetation have been destroyed by the fire, which broke out on Sunday afternoon. While the fire continues to rage, firefighters have stabilized the perimeter ensuring the flames did not expand further overnight, according to the Spanish Huffington Post.

The evacuated residents were spread out over neighbouring villages, where they souht refuge overnight in a basketball arena and a library, quickly set up to accommodate them.

To make matters worse, firefighters from Spain’s forest firefightingservice (BRIF) began an indefinite strike on Monday in protest against working conditions and low pay. It is the first time such a strike has taken place while wildfires sweep vast areas of Spain, the association of forest firefighters, Atbrif, said in a statement on its website.

“Is it fair that we make such a ridiculously paltry amount while we put our lives at risk?” the firefighters’ association said.

The association is meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Madrid on Monday.”


Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Karen.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

8 thoughts on “Wildland firefighters in Spain strike as fires burn”

  1. “’Is it fair that we make such a ridiculously paltry amount while we put our lives at risk?’ the firefighters’ association said.”

    Wow. I know that Spain has big economic problems, and the causes are obvious (See also Greece, where I am going in a few weeks and hope to learn how the fire service is affected.)

    But striking during big fires? These guys give public unions a bad name. Where is their professionalism.

    Are the affected towns and villages having to create ad hoc volunteer firefighting units?

  2. This new don’t explain that although their are on strike, these firefighters are going to fight against the flames as volunteers , they prefer this to earn the 3,7€/day plus of danger. Their salary is around 900€/mounth instead of they are considered as elite crews

  3. We are going to the wildfires voluntarily because at first we love our work and our forests, it’s a strike but we never forget that anybody is defending our natural patrimony.
    we are earning 950 euros at month and there are less brigades each campaign, our politicians are waiting to a big accident to react. We only want work all year and a few reconnaissance, in USA all of you are heroes, here anybody knows us.

  4. Hello from Spain. I´m working as “firefighter´´ in BRIF, and I know that a lot of my colleagues are fighting against wildfires even thougth they are on strike; so they are working and risking their lifes for free, as volunteers.
    I wrote “firefighter´´ because we are not considered firefighters, just forestry workers.
    Moreover the minimun services allowed by the goverment are 72-75%; Our constitutional right to strike could be considered broken.
    Be sure that the population and forest protection is over the strike.
    I hope I answer your question.
    Regards from Spain

  5. The firefighters are on strike, but they are continue working in the wildfires, their decision is work as volunteers in all the fires.

  6. It should be pointed out, too, that these are elite heli-tac units, not just rag-tag hand crews. I know several guys who are affected by the strike from participating in a couple TREX opportunities in the Great Plains. They are some of the most professional, hard working guys I’ve ever met in wildland fire. Their ~900 Euro salary is equal to just under $1000/month USD. One major issue they are pushing for is placement or preference for a job after they are unable to continue fighting fires. As it stands now, an individual could spend 20 years working wildland fire but once they are unable to continue they (as one of my friends from Spain put it) “Given a kiss and told good luck”.

  7. Durante la huelga se niegan a trabajar en prevencion, pero siguen acudiendo a los incendios como voluntarios.

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