Pilot-project to prevent serious wildfires in Western Algarve

Preventing deaths and reducing land destruction among main goals

A pilot-project aimed at preventing the outbreak of serious wildfires will be carried out in three Portuguese regions – Western Algarve, Alto Tâmega and Coimbra.

The initiative is being developed by the European Commission (EC) through its Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM), which is financing a team of specialists to help firefighting authorities implement a National Plan of Action (Plano Nacional de Ação, or PNA).

The team is led by AARC consulting firm and will be assisted by Associação Natureza Portugal (ANP|WWF), Nova School of Business and Economics and Instituto Superior de Agronomia, among others.

Says ANP/WWF, the main goals of the PNA are to “prevent the loss of life in wildfires, reduce the number of fires covering more than 500 hectares and ensure that the amount of land destroyed by wildfires between 2020 and 2030 does not exceed 666,000 hectares.”

The three regions were selected to be a part of the project due to their “wildfire risk” and their specific social, economic and forest characteristics.

Adds ANF, local authorities in the three areas – such as local councils, the Nature and Forest Conservation Institute (ICNF), civil protection authorities and GNR police – are working together to establish which measures are “critical” to reducing serious wildfires.

In other words, the goal is to find more effective ways of working together to manage wildfire risk in vulnerable areas.

“The various authorities involved in the project will be able to learn a series of lessons which will help implement the PNA on a national scale in a more robust way, with the primordial goal of reducing serious wildfires in Portugal and their damaging consequences,” ANF says.

By Michael Bruxo
michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com