Fire-devastated borough ‘goes on the attack’

The fire-ravaged borough of Mação is on the attack following what it deems a ‘deeply unsatisfactory’ report by Civil Protection on the mega blaze in July that charred its landscape, causing millions of euros worth of damages.

The first step has been for Mação borough council to advance with a formal complaint to the general inspectorate of Internal Administration.

As borough mayor Vasco Estrela (PSD) told Lusa, Civil Protection blames Mação’s losses on “difficulties in combat” – due to the dispersal of means in multiple incidents – and “extremely aggressive” temperatures.

But this neatly bypasses who made decisions, and why, he says. There has also been no presentation of any kind of timeline.

In all, over 18,000 hectares went up in flames as 30 villages had to be evacuated.

As many as 14 primary residences (ie family homes) were either destroyed or partially destroyed along with multiple barns, hay stores and vehicles.

Yet, according to Estrela, Civil Protection is trying to wriggle out of ‘appointing responsibilities’.

Mação’s complaint is aimed at getting an impartial overview on Civil Protection’s response from an independent entity, he explained.

Lusa implies that Estrela could be upset over the fact that Civil Protection’s report alluded to his borough’s lack of an emergency plan.

Estrela claims the plan exists, but is out of date.

German firefighters in Portugal to teach firefighting techniques

Meantime, social media is divided over news that German firefighters have visited Portugal to teach firemen and women here about new techniques.

WaldBrand Team is a “special unit” which “helps countries in a state of emergency”, reports website PT Jornal.

But as critics have been pointing out, WaldBrand comes from a country that is totally different in terms of terrain and conditions to Portugal.

Needless to say, fire chief Luciano Reis has given the visit to his station in Mondim de Basto the thumbs up.

“Their methods could be useful”, he told the website.

WaldBrand’s new techniques involve the use of a gel that is dumped on vegetation and sticks to it, allowing water to stay on the areas where it falls.

For now, WaldBrand has left Mondim de Basto with a supply of gel.

“We’re going to see up to which point it works or not in our area”, said Reis.

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