Government creates National Forest-fire Authority

news: Government creates National Forest-fire Authority

WITH FEARS mounting and the fire season almost upon us, the government has announced the creation of a National Forest-fire Authority.Among its tasks, the new body, which unites several ministries and institutions, will be preparing a detailed report on the virtues and failures of the nation’s fire fighting system with a view to re-drafting emergency services legislation.

Expected to be up and running shortly, or at any rate, “as fast as possible”, the new Authority will be composed of elements from the Serviço Nacional de Bombeiros e Protecção Civil (SNBPC), the Institute of Meteorology and the ministries of Agriculture and the Environment. Until next October, the Authority will be dedicated to supporting and co-ordinating the emergency services on the ground and, at the same time, gathering data relating to every aspect of forest fire prevention and fighting operations. All positive and negative aspects will be logged and analysed in an in-depth report which is scheduled to go into preparation immediately following this year’s fire season during the early autumn, and will form the basis of a general overhaul of the SNBPC and the introduction of new legislation.

The post of President of the National Forest-fire Authority, carrying with it powers equivalent to a sub-secretary of state, is officially yet to be filled, but the announcement of the appointment of a senior fireman is expected shortly.

In the same legislative package, the government is expected to give more powers to district operations and aid co-ordinators that will now become known as District Commanders of Aid and Operations. District Commanders will not only have the power to co-ordinate resources, as has been the case in the past, but will now be in full command of mobilisation, deployment and command of emergency services on the ground. Likewise, the national co-ordinator of aid and civil protection will go under the new title of ‘National Commander’ with increased powers of command and control at national level.