On 29th May 2018 an Auto-protection Awareness Session was held in the small village of Cumeada located between Silves and Messines. This was one of the first sessions in the Algarve under governments “Aldeia Segura” e “Pessoas Seguras” (Safe Villages – Safe People) program.

The purpose of the session was to brief villagers on how to protect themselves should they be affected by a rural fire. It was attended by the Mayor of Silves and Head of the ANPC Faro District among others including Safe Communities Portugal.

The session covered: The sounding of church bells or other alarms in the event of a major fires approaching the village; the location of local high fire risk areas; creation of fire breaks and future ones planned; escape routes in the event of a fire; location of assembly points; familiarisation of fire escape route and assembly point signage; the identity of the local auto-protection fire agent and protection against smoke inhalation.

The ANPC have stated that similar sessions will be rolled out in HIGH RISK villages throughout the country organised by municipal councils.

These awareness sessions and plans are based on the lesson learned from the terrible fires last year that resulted in the loss of over 100 lives. Knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives and this is why it is important to attend such sessions if organized in your village. They will largely be in Portuguese but very easy to follow if a non-Portuguese speaker.

In the coming weeks similar seminars will be held in villages throughout the country in villages that have been identified as “high risk” mainly in the northern parts of the Algarve. It is therefore important to look out for information from the local camara as when and where these will be. If in doubt whether your village has been designate high risk consult with the local Junta da Freguesia.

One major development is the introduction of signage in high risk villages showing the escape routes from fires in the direction of assembly points.

Safe Communities Portugal will be at stand 49 at the Algarve International Fair and will have available more details on this topic as well as the leaflet in English on Safe villages – Safe People” published on 25th May 2018.



The SEF – Foreigners and Borders Service have conducted a number of surveillance operations at dawn on May 24 in the Porto and Braga areas, which culminated in the detention of seven foreign nationals due to irregular stay in national territory.

These actions are aimed at investigating the activities of foreign citizens in Portuguese territory and to prevent aiding illegal immigration and related crimes.

In this operation 70 citizens, including 39 foreigners, were identified and seven were arrested who will now be presented to the court for the first interrogation and determination of measures for compulsory expulsion proceedings. Three foreign nationals were also notified to leave the national territory.



Due to the strike of the workers of the National Printing House (INCM), the entity responsible for the production, prossessing and delivery of Passports and Residence Permits, the levels of service of production and delivery of the same are registering delays.

SEF is making every effort with INCM to reduce any problems.

Priority will continue to be given to emergency situations, which must be reported at the counter where the request is made.

Published by SEF on 25th May 2018



The National Civil Protection Authority warns people that they may be approached by strangers who, posing as civil protection staff, who approach people informing them that they are going to be fined due to non-compliance with the legal obligations to clean rural lands of which they are owners.

The ANPC was informed of a situation that occurred in the Viana do Castelo district, where the motive in question asked a citizen to pay the amount of a fine by transfer to a NIB (bank account) by the end of that day, otherwise the fine would be doubled.

In view of this, the ANPC informs citizens that civil protection services do not impose fines for non-compliance with the legal obligations to clear the forest land. Any fraudulent attempt such as this should be reported immediately to the police authorities.


More operational, more and more modern vehicles, three helicopters permanently, plus fixed lookout posts, a new extended GIPS GNR attack group, plus two ICNF vigilante teams, plus three permanent intervention teams, Analysis and Use of Fire from Special Firefighters, plus three teams of Forest Foremen, a new tactical team of track engineers and a new group of forest firefighters.

These are, in summary, some of the novelties of the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) for the Algarve, which was presented yesterday by the regional operational commander of Civil Protection, during the official opening of the Algarsafe fair in Portimao and in the presence of the Minister of Internal Administration.

Safe Communities Portugal was present at the opening and met with the Minister at their stand following the opening.

For the Algarve region, 623 firefighters, army and security forces are deployed with 161 vehicles and three helicopters at the most critical stage between 1 July and 30 September.

Commander Vaz Pinto also announced that this year, DECIR Algarve will have three more permanent intervention teams, distributed by Alcoutim, Monchique and Portimão, as well as an increase in logistics, support and forest fire teams.

The Algarve is also permanently active throughout the year with an expanded attack group of the GPR (National Intervention, Protection and Relief Group) of the National Republican Guard (GNR), made up of 30 soldiers and seven vehicles.

Minister Eduardo Cabrita, in charge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, present at the DECIR presentation, then stressed the importance of having “for the first time an expanded attack structure of the GNR in the Algarve, one of the four existing on the continent”.

There will also be two light helicopters, with one more air medium being added between 1 July and 30 September. These initial attack helicopters, operated by GNR GIPS, are stationed in Monchique, Loulé and Cachopo, allowing full coverage of the region. There is also a fourth helicopter, in Ourique already in the Alentejo, but able to provide assistance to the Algarve, if necessary.

On the other hand, a new army military team will be integrated into surveillance actions in seven municipalities (Alcoutim, Castro Marim, Loulé, Monchique, São Brás de Alportel, Silves and Tavira), passing to seven the teams that will be vigilant in predominantly rural areas.

There will be two more teams of vigilantes from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), and the Fire Analysis and Use Team (EAUF) of the Loulé-based special firefighting force was reinforced and three teams of Sapadores Forestry, extending its action to the municipalities of Aljezur, Monchique and São Brás de Alportel.

New this year, it is also the tactical team of track engineers, with two specialists, ready to work together with the 10 track machines guaranteed by the municipalities.

There will also be a new forest firefighting group.

As for fixed lookout stations, this year there are a total of 12, of which five have already entered operation on 7 May and will extend their action until 6 November. The rest, take action on June 1.

In addition to the reinforcement of the means, the 16 municipalities also reinforced the financing for the device, an amount that this year is around 400 thousand euros.

For the firemen there will be an extra payment: they will receive 65 euros for every 24 hours of work, 50 euros being borne by the National Civil Protection Authority and the remaining 15 euros by the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL), made up of 16 algarvian chambers.

In fact, Jorge Botelho, president of AMAL, also present at the ceremony, stressed that “the municipalities of the Algarve are absolutely committed to making things go well, both in prevention and in combat”.

“We have all made a great effort to have a safer Algarve, where the rural fires should not happen, or where, if they happen, they will be fought immediately,” added the mayor.

For its part, Isilda Gomes, mayor of Portimão and vice-president of the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities, in charge of Civil Protection and Fire Brigade, defended that “never before had so much work been done to prevent rural fires”.

However, he admitted: “We can all do the best job possible, but, however much we do, things may not go well.”

At the end of a long presentation session of DECIR, which also includes the delivery to the 16 municipalities of Algarve and to AMAL itself of the certificates of “Resilient Municipalities”, delivered by the UN, the Minister of Home Affairs also emphasized the effort made throughout the country, in recent months, in terms of prevention.

The minister also praised the work of the GNR, which “over the five months of this year went far beyond its traditional functions”. So much so that in the first few months of the year it was “cleaned up a lot more, but the misconduct was also five times more than it had been last year.”

On the other hand, those arrested for forest fires also increased: “this number went from 12 last year to 74 this year … and we are still going in May”.

“After everything that happened last year, it is our duty to do everything so that nothing like this ever happens again,” concluded Minister Eduardo Cabrita.

Safe Communities Portugal was present at the opening and was an organising partner for the event.

Article curtesy Elisabete Rodreigas Informacao Sul


The Minister of Internal Affairs has assured that the air means defined by the Government to fight the forest fires is secured with the hiring of another 12 aircraft.

According to Eduardo Cabrita, part of the 50 aircraft contracted “is something unprecedented, because it allows to have an answer, either in helicopters or in airplanes, throughout the year, that is, from January to December.”

The minister was speaking to journalists at of the presentation of the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) for the Algarve that took place in Portimão, Faro district, which was attended by Safe Communities Portugal.

There are about a thousand more personnel than last year,” he stressed, recalling that the GIPS contingent “has been strengthened, extending its action to the whole territory of the continent and the autonomous region of Madeira.”

According to Eduardo Cabrita, there are more than 250 professional teams at national level that cover all municipalities where risky parishes have been identified, ensuring that the Government “will go further until the end of the year, in a project in coordination with the Portuguese Firemen’s League” .

“We will have by the end of the year more than 1,500 firefighters with professional status supported by the National Civil Protection Authority,” he said.

The Minister of Home Affairs participated today in the presentation of DECIR for the Algarve that took place in the Arena pavilion of Portimão, where Algarsafe, the International Fair of Civil Protection and Relief, is taking place.

It is the largest fair of its kind in the region, with about one hundred public and private exhibitors in


The Northern Board of the PJ has arrested six people suspected of abduction, forced marriage and rape of an 18-year-old girl.

In a statement, the PJ said on 17th May that the crimes in question occurred during a holiday season of 2017, in the areas of Coimbra and Aveiro.

According to the same source, the detainees, aged between 30 and 50, all have “kinship or affinity relationships, according to their custom” and some of them have criminal records and sentencing for other crime.

“The victim was rescued by the PJ during the current year and placed in a place reserved and different from her normal residence for security reasons,” the same note said.

The operation, involving 40 investigators, included the execution of six domiciliary searches, where relevant material was collected for the facts under investigation.

The six detainees will be present at the first judicial interrogation to apply pre-trial conditions.


A foreign citizen has been detained at Lisbon airport in possession of a “high quantity of cocaine”, which, equivalent to about 30,000 individual doses.

According to the National Anti-Narcotics Trafficking Unit (UNCTE) of the Judicial Police (PJ), the drug was concealed in the luggage and the 35-year-old passenger who was detained during the regular check on passengers arriving from countries considered to be at risk of drug trafficking and entry into Europe.

Police also reported that cocaine was transported from a Latin American country (which it did not specify) to Humberto Delgado airport in Lisbon. The defendant was remanded in custody..


The National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) will carry out on May 18 and 19 the MONTEMURO 2018 exercise, in the districts of Aveiro and Viseu.

This is a civil protection exercise that takes place on the first day, May 18, in the CPX (Command Post Exercise) modality, that is, in the context of an operating room, and on the second day, May 19, in the mode LIVEX (Live Exercise), that is, with movement in the field of operational means.  It will be held within the framework of the “Safe Village” and “Safe People” Programs, in order to implement strategies to protect the population and encourage the participation of the population, a scenario of evacuation of the village of Aziboso, Cinfães municipality, will be simulated.

The SMS Warning System will also be tested for the populations of the districts of Aveiro and Viseu, who will be informed about the extreme risk situation in the context of a rural fire resulting from the declaration of the special alert status of SIOPS (Sistema Integrado de Protection and Relief Operations) to the red level.

This exercise will also test scenarios of communications failure, power failure and congestion of the SIRESP network, in order to assess the effectiveness of the redundant systems implemented, namely through the activation of generators and the mobile communications station.

About 850 operational officers of the National Protection and Relief Operations System will be involved in the exercise


16.30 to 19.00 hrs on Tuesday 22nd May at Clube de Tavira.

Safe Communities Portugal, the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) Tavira and Bombeiros Tavira will jointly be holding an awareness session concerning land cleaning to help prevent the spread of rural fires in the area.

The presentations by the organisers will be in English and the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, (ICNF) have also been invited.

The aim of the seminar is to help those who may still be unclear concerning the various laws, the reporting of neighbouring overgrown land, enforcement action being taken, advice that is available, contact points and other issues.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

It will be in English, but the presenters will be able to explain points in Portuguese.

Entrance is free.

Seating is limited, and given in the interest in this topic, you are advised to guarantee your seat by contacting or call 913045093

The organizers thank the Mediterranean Gardening Association Portugal (MGAP) for their help in promoting this event.

Clube de Tavira is located at R. da Liberdade 23, 8800-399 Tavira next to the City Hall