Global wildfire experts gather in Porto for major conference

Over 200 experts aim to thrash out ‘international commitment to fire risk’

World experts in preventing and putting out forest fires will be in Porto this week for a conference that aims to reach an international commitment to fire risk management on a global scale.

At the end of what is considered ‘the biggest world conference on forest fires’, starting on Tuesday (May 16) and running until Friday, at the Alfândega do Porto, a document “with the governance principles that will enable countries to better manage fire risk” will be approved, writes Lusa.

Organised by the Agency for Integrated Management of Rural Fires (AGIF), this 8th international conference will be a meeting point for countries, agencies and private organisations to share experiences in favour of communities and nations that are better protected against the growing threat of fires.

More than 1,200 people and 200 speakers from around 80 countries are scheduled to attend.

“People are going to discuss this document and are going to propose that the United Nations have a methodology, an approach to better manage and govern fires on a global scale,” AGIF president Tiago Oliveira told Lusa, stating that the conference will end with approval on the “governance of fire risk”.

The document should then follow the diplomatic circuits so that there is “an agreement on a global scale” over the approach to the problems of forest fires, he said.

“It cannot be only with planes and prevention”. There has to be “a balanced approach of articulation of policies and community involvement, very much supported to the use of fire during winter. The so-called good fire”, he added.

Tiago Oliveira stressed that the conference has “a very technical and management dimension”, and over four days, the issues of danger, integrated fire management, protection of people, forest defence and fires in the Amazon and Australia will be discussed.

“We will have more than 60 sessions over four days and more than 200 experts and managers from the North American, Chilean, Brazilian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, European and Canadian services. They will all be here to discuss and align the right words so that this document is, in fact, accepted and absorbed by diplomatic entities,” he said.

The president of AGIF also said that the conference aims to strengthen international cooperation networks and will be “useful for Portugal to improve knowledge” through the experiences of other countries.

“The programme is vast, it will be a week of thinking globally about a problem. How each country can give its contribution to be more protected from serious rural fires and to emit less CO2 so that fires do not contribute so much to the destruction of biodiversity and the issue of damage to houses and people”.

This international conference has been held every four years since 1980.

Source: Lusa