Preventing Wildfires in Portugal
The Commission supported a project aimed at carrying out the Portuguese Action Programme for the prevention of rural wildfires in three pilot regions. The objective is to protect citizens’ lives and the ecosystem from the fires, identifying and managing the most vulnerable territories, and ensuring the protection of the ecosystems.
Over the last years, in Portugal wildfires have threatened lives, communities and natural and cultural resources. Wildfires have taken lives and livelihood in Portugal in a way that exceeds the boundaries of forests or even those of rural territories.
Overall, wildfires have increased across the country due to the lack of prevention and failure to integrate knowledge in management operations.
An analysis conducted earlier by the Portuguese authorities shows that land abandonment and ineffective forest management contributed to reducing the capacity to manage forested areas.
The analysis also showed also weaknesses in resources programming, a very high number of yearly ignitions, low levels of knowledge of staging areas and subsequent difficulties in conceiving the big picture. Furthermore, other factors contributed to increase this phenomenon, such as a lack of standard procedures, scarcity of skilled human resources and a lack of empirical knowledge in decision-making processes.
The project supported the Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management (AGIF) with the implementation and operationalisation of the Portuguese National Plan for Integrated Wildfire Management and the National Action Programme within three pilot regions to implement the projects.
The project has contributed to the development of a Model Plan and of an Application Model based on the most appropriate governance structure. Additional factors are taken into account for its adaptation when transposing the model to other regions either at the local and regional level.
This was complemented by a monitoring, reporting and control framework for the implementation. The project also aims to provide the communication strategy and to organise training activities for key stakeholders and communities. The objective is to mobilise the civil society and raise awareness.
The main expected result of the project is the implementation and operationalisation of the National Action Programme for the prevention of rural wildfires in three pilot regions in view of protecting the Portuguese citizens’ lives and their property from these fires, identifying and managing susceptible territories, ensuring proper care to ecosystems while changing citizen’s behaviour towards the use of fire and other fire prone activities.
The project is expected to contribute to bridge the institutional gaps, fostering collaboration and cooperation and balancing resources between wildfire prevention and suppression.
More about the project
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