Monchique to host public hearing about last year’s devastating wildfire

A public hearing “in memory of 2018’s largest and most catastrophic forest fire” will be held on Saturday morning (August 3) at the Fonte dos Chorões restaurant in Monchique.

The event is organised by a new residents’ association called Monchique Alert – Mountains free from Fire. The key speaker will be Professor Domingos Xavier Viegas from the University of Coimbra, a member of the Portugal’s Observatório Técnico Independente (Independent Technical Observatory), an independent group that “analyses, accompanies and evaluates” the country’s wildfires.

The wildfire that raged in Monchique for one full week last August is still on everyone’s mind in the mountainside community and its consequences are still visible all around the town.

“It is an incident we hope never to repeat,” the association says in a statement.

It adds: “For this reason – so that we don’t forget what happened – next Saturday will be a day to remember the environmental disaster caused by the forest fire. The event will be held in memory of the fire’s victims, as we consider the losses that we sustained in the flames, smoke and ashes, and think about how we might be able to reduce the greenhouse effect.”

During the event, the association will unveil a photography exhibit about the fire “as we listen to testimonies of the catastrophe and hear from renowned experts on wildfires”.

The goal will be to answer three main questions: “What went wrong before, during and after the wildfire in Monchique? In an ideal world, what solutions might prevent fires in the future? Taking limitations into consideration, what are some realistic actions we can take to meet this goal?

“We would like to invite every resident in the area to this public hearing. If we are able to come up with potential solutions to this problem and propose measures to be taken in Monchique and across Portugal, we will be very pleased – hopefully, environmental disasters like wildfires that have plagued this country may be minimised and avoided in the future,” says the association.

The public hearing, which anyone can attend, will begin at 10.30am and come to an end at 1.32pm with a minute of silence.

Those who would like to take part in the lunch with the speakers must reserve their place at the buffet for the price of €9.50. The deadline to do so is 6pm today (Thursday).

You can reserve a place by telephoning 926 600 099 or by emailing [email protected].

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