One voice to prevent fires

Three local residents from Marmelete and Portimão have joined forces and organised a meeting in an attempt to alert the Portuguese government to the dangers of more forest fires occurring in Monchique.

“We have to let the government know that the Algarve is a priority – Monchique is in danger and it needs a helicopter. Ministers need to know that the bombeiros require help and, most of all, equipment to fight forest fires, otherwise, what will become of Monchique?” questioned one of the organisers, Brigitta Rose from Marmelete.

Last year, a huge blaze was just two metres from Brigitta’s house, so she has direct experience of the devastating effects of fire. But she was fortunate – the wind changed direction and the fire was blown in the opposite direction. However, Cristina Nunes, also a Marmelete resident, wasn’t as lucky. Her livelihood was destroyed in the devastating fire.

Portimão resident, Manuela Rocha, also believes enough is enough. “We have to get the message across that the forest should be cleaned up frequently, burnt trees need to be re-planted. We have to make our voices and solutions heard because we do exist and live with the constant threat of fires surrounding our homes,” she says.

Cristina says that the trio has not organised the meeting to criticise the government, but to come up with a solution to stop the constant threat of fires in Monchique. “The câmara and the Red Cross have been so supportive to local residents affected by the fires, and have effectively re-built homes that were devastated in the blazes. But, a solution as to how to prevent the fires still needs to be thought of urgently,” Cristina says.

All three agree that the government should focus more on “investing, not just profiting. Fewer submarines and more Canadair planes. The fires have affected us all. We want the population to gather as one voice – we have to get the message across”.

• The meeting takes place at Largo dos Chorões in Monchique from 4pm on September 11. Call Brigitta on 282 955 326 for more information.