Unemployed to help fight against fires

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Guidelines for this year’s forest fire prevention plans were on the agenda at a meeting on January 27 chaired by Faro Civil Governor of Faro, Isilda Gomes, who wants to ensure that the region achieves good or better results than those registered in 2010.

During the meeting with the District Committee for Forest Protection, Isilda Gomes called for the commitment of all entities with responsibility in this area and proposed that the unemployed got involved in the actions.

“In 2010, we had good results due to the excellent cooperation of all members of the Civil Protection teams as well as organisations linked to fire prevention,” she said.

Isilda Gomes also pointed out that actions to protect our forests must be undertaken by all municipalities. “The involvement of local authorities is essential, particularly with regard to full compliance of the responsibility they have in this area. I hope that there is good synergy between all entities involved in fire prevention in order to reinforce actions on the ground, ensuring effective prevention against forest fires.”

Isilda Gomes said the region currently has the tools it needs to ensure the success of this plan at district and municipal levels, but stressed that more action is still needed.

“Plans are in place, but it is now necessary to move from planning to action in order to minimise costs and problems associated with forest fires. Reducing the area affected by fires this year depends largely on good organisation and quick, effective response to ensure fires are extinguished as soon as they break out,” added the Civil Governor.

Meanwhile, the meeting also discussed proposals to use people on unemployment benefit as part of the fire prevention programme.

Anyone coming forward to participate in the plan will be paid 20% on top of their unemployment benefit. Applications can be made via the Portuguese Employment and Professional Training Institute (IEFP) offices.

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