Official report on Monchique fire to be completed “in one month”

An official report about last year’s devastating fire in Monchique will be completed “in a month’s time”, confirmed Francisco Castro Rego, president of the government’s independent observatory analysing the country’s forest fires.

“What we are trying to establish is what lessons can be learned so that we can improve the system in the future,” he told reporters during a visit to Monchique on Wednesday.

Six members of the Observatório Técnico Independente (OTI) met with Monchique mayor Rui André to visit the areas worst affected by the fire which destroyed over 27,000 hectares of land in Monchique, Silves, Portimão and Odemira in August 2018.

“More than finding out who was responsible for what, we’re trying to understand what failed in the system and what areas we can improve to prevent these situations from happening,” he added.

Hopes are that the “lessons have been learnt” and can help prepare firefighting mechanisms for the next fire season. What the observatory has already established is that “taking money away from firefighting efforts to invest in prevention, and vice-versa, can be dangerous in many cases”.

Lusa news agency points out that the flames destroyed 74 houses, 52 of which are eligible to receive state funding for reconstruction or renovation works.

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