Yesterday's preview, between Sarroch and Tortolì, was a disaster. The summer catastrophe, however, is now upon us. The most "armed" land in Italy is today dramatically the most disarmed. Of course, the Italian & Born in the land of Sardinia ranges are full of tanks. The Decimomannu air force base is full of "war fighters", all busy devastating coasts and territories with bombs and missiles. In the countryside, at sea and on land, very powerful latest generation helicopters are raging, ripping holes in targets of all kinds with supersonic machine guns.

Fire slot machine

In the Forestry helicopter bases scattered across the island, however, there is a void. Disarmed as they have never been in the "modern" history of Sardinian firefighting. A disaster that was more than predicted, with the Region incapable of taking initiatives capable of breaking out of a lethal grip, the one held by the big "sisters" of fire prevention, the multinationals and others, who for years have controlled contracts and prices, managed the campaigns summer like a gigantic slot machine with which to profit liberally from Sardinia.

Under investigation

After the journalistic investigation two years ago by our newspaper on that helicopter cartel that also landed on the island, a 360-degree investigation was launched by the Cagliari public prosecutor's office. The Public Prosecutor, Andrea Vacca, owner of the file, has dismantled public tenders and private offers piece by piece. When the crime was limited, he wasted no time: investigations closed without frills, everyone responsible and a collective request for indictment. The preliminary hearing is in May. A temporary business association that would have influenced the "public auction" by limiting competition and transparency for the performance of the crucial fire prevention service had ended up under the magistrates' lens.

Sign to abstain

Almost as if the "cartel", once again, had come to an agreement, on the occasion of the late and botched tender of the Region for the three-year period, the aerial firefighting companies have implemented "voluntarily", or not, the technique of " offside", with the sole intention of leaving the Region in "cloth breeches". This is how it went: practically deserted contracts, except for two lots from a company whose main activity manages a chain of crematoria in northern Italy. The mechanism is all too clear. The technique of speculative raising passes for a refusal to participate in the Sardinian competitions, revealing the impossibility of competing with the motivation that the Region would have arrived late, while the other regional administrations would have grabbed helicopters and experienced pilots ahead of time.

Fire under the house

In reality, the private firefighting monopolists will wait for the "fire" to arrive at the Region's doorstep to decide how much to demand, raising the demands to the stars, all of which must be strictly negotiated through private negotiations, without any public evidence. In short, a "reverse cartel", where the competitors agreed, as the Competition and Market Authority itself noted, to win the contract with a single participant with a reduction of between 0.1% and 0.49%.

The blackmail of monopoly

In other words: we want that money down to the last cent. A higher discount, they knew full well, would not be needed: they had already decided how to "divide the pie" of the Sardinian fire prevention service. After the cyclopean sanctions inflicted by the Antitrust, over 70 million euros, it was obvious that those companies would have put Sardinia on the black list of the Regions to be made to pay the price of the "betrayal" of the cartel, on the one hand due to the condemnation of the Guarantor and on the other even for the judicial investigation that put them against the wall.


The showdown, therefore, for the big "sisters" of firefighting, will start at the moment of private negotiation with a Region now with its back to the wall, forced to give in to every demand of the lords of firefighting with a large part of Sardinia, in full summer, without air cover. A sort of poker game on the mind of the Island, its environment and its nature.

General test

A silent private-monopolistic grip which, in the case of Sarroch and Tortolì, proved to be a dramatic dress rehearsal, useful for understanding the risk of an island left at the mercy of Sunday arsonists or, worse, hardened criminals. The Sardinia case, however, has implications that reopen without appeal the great public-private question of the management of such a delicate service as fire prevention. The "fire cartel", as it has been renamed around the world, risks setting up, as criminal investigations have shown, a large firefighting industry that earns more and more based on the number of hours spent flight, with all the risks and dangers of a perverse mechanism: more fires, more size of the fire, more profits.

Public-private crossroads

For this reason, in the Sardinian scenario, an obligatory crossroads looms: a "public" solution to free the management of a civil protection service so important and indispensable for a region like Sardinia from private blackmail. In this land that has always been devastated by fires and military servitude, all that remains is to appeal to common sense and a sense of responsibility on the part of the State. Over the years, moreover, propaganda messages and cover commercials have been repeated, with military aircraft put on display complete with a basket for loading water. Everything, however, has always been reduced to the traditional " opportunity" photo.

Concrete “Dual Use”.

Now, however, the air fleet, the helicopter fleet headed by the Ministry of Defense, could be called upon to move from propaganda to a strategic and decisive role, to concretely implement, and for the first time, that superficial thesis of the "Dual Use”, that is, using military means also for a civil and social purpose. Of course, it is not a war with missiles and bombs, which we could happily do without, but it is a real war, at home, urgent and cannot be postponed to protect Sardinia from criminals and speculative blackmail that put human lives and property at risk. environmental. Moreover, with that firepower of helicopters equipped, or which can be urgently equipped, for firefighting and supplied to the Defense, it is preferable to transport water to put out fires, rather than mortars bombing the island.

More civil protection

For once we could give a tangible sign of a useful and appropriate use of public money given that this year the costs of the Ministry of Defense have gone from 19.5 billion to 20.8, with one billion and 300 million euros in more. A frightening increase if you consider that from 2017 to today the "Defense Function" has seen available resources increase by as much as 7.6 billion euros. To these must be added for 2024 almost 9.3 billion in investments in weapons and military vehicles. It is impossible not to find the resources to protect Sardinia from the fires and speculation of the "big sisters". Here, in the land of military servitude, the "war" of fire is about to begin.

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