Aerial photo showing how close this month's fire which broke out in São Teotónio came to Odeceixe in Aljezur, Algarve (Photo: Câmara Municipal de Aljezur)

Algarve municipalities push for professional firefighters

Having a specialised firefighting team is becoming increasingly important, AMAL believes

The Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) has called for the creation of a Regional Corps of Professional Firefighters in the aftermath of the major fire which broke out in Odemira in the Alentejo and spread to the neighbouring boroughs of Monchique and Aljezur in the Algarve.

This new unit would specialise in fighting fires as well as tackling other “risky situations,” such as earthquakes, AMAL president António Pina told Eco news website.

With the region being blighted almost every year by major fires, having a specialised firefighting team in the Algarve is becoming increasingly important, Pina has pointed out.

This new team would be a “new entity, in addition to the existing fire brigades, but with a regional scope, similar to the Special Firefighting Force that exists on a national level,” he said.

As Pina explained, it would allow for a “quicker and more effective operational response to fires” (…) and would “ensure a higher number of professional firefighters operating in the Algarve.”

AMAL has already pitched the idea to the Civil Protection Authority, defending that “this could be one of the measures which would make the Algarve more resilient and would allow for a more effective response to one of the risks that most threaten the region and are a recurring problem, such as forest fires”.

This weekend is promising to be another worrisome one in terms of wildfire risk, with Portugal’s minister of internal affairs having already warned of rising temperatures which will increase the likelihood of fires.

By Michael Bruxo

[email protected]