Fire chief quits

VILARIM REIS, Commander of the Bombeiros Voluntários de Portimão, has resigned, declaring that, with the rapid approach of this year’s forest fire season and the absence of any fire-prevention and firefighting plan, he “has no will to continue”.

Talking recently about his resignation, he said his decision was “irreversible” and has been “seriously considered”. Vilarim Reis, who has been in the fire service for the past 14 years, added that, with the disastrous fires of 2003 and considering that colleagues have been killed, the fact that there is still no structured plan of fire prevention proved the “last straw” and prompted him to go.

He further hinted that his decision was influenced by the worsening drought conditions in the region, vastly increasing the risk of sweeping forest fires, and the general disorganisation of the national fire and emergency service (Serviço Nacional de Bombeiros e Protecção Civil).

According to Reis, he was choosing to stand down now, before the fire season, to give the leadership of the Portimão Bombeiros time to find a replacement for him. Meanwhile, he emphasised that he would still remain a volunteer for the bombeiros, ready to serve whenever necessary.