Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

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Government to scrap firefighting calendar

in News · 20-12-2017 14:25:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s government is to do away with the wildfire risk categorisation and response calendar by the end of this year.

Government to scrap firefighting calendar

The current calendar defines the various phases of when the country is most at risk of wildfires, and the resources made available to fight them, but, as the Minister of Internal Affairs said recently, 2017 has proven the worst fires can happen outside the period of greatest risk.
This year, the most critical fire phase – Phase Charlie – was defined as between 1 July and 31 September, generally when the country is at its hottest, although the deadliest and biggest fires were in June and October.
“We have to have a very significant presence throughout the year and above all great flexibility”, Minister Eduardo Cabrita said.
The move to scrap the fire-risk calendar is to be made official in a bill due to be published before the year’s end.
“Under the new operational directive that the Government has committed to submitting by the end of the year, one of the new elements is the eradication of phases, because, as we dramatically saw in 2017, the two most serious occurrences occurred outside the so-called Phase Charlie, in June and in October.”
At least 65 people were killed and more than 200 injured when a series of four deadly  wildfires erupted across central Portugal on the afternoon of 17 June 2017 within minutes of each other. The majority of the deaths occurred in the Pedrogão Grande area.
Months later, between 13 and 18 October, wildfires in northern Portugal killed a further 45 people, and dozens more were left injured.
On the worst day, 15 October, Portugal’s firefighters were simultaneously battling over 440 fires, with the country seeking assistance from European neighbours and Morocco.
The then-Minister of Internal Administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa, resigned as a result.
The government also recently authorised the hiring of 50 aircraft to fight fires in 2018 and 2019, as increasing pressure is being applied to take the firefighting work away from the private sector and hand it over to the country’s air force.

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Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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