The National Civil Protection Authority will train 1,320 Army personnel to integrate the Special Firefighting Devices (DECIF) for surveillance functions, the Army said Thursday.

“This is a Specialization Course in Active Post-Post Surveillance to be held until next May 11, at the Castelo Branco Logistic Support Base. The course, certified by the General Directorate of Employment and Labor Relations and recognized by the National School of Firefighters, will provide the military with more skills to integrate the theatres of operations to combat forest fires in active surveillance after resolution, “said an army statement released today.

The possibility of the military being integrated into the firefighting device this year was advanced by the Minister of Internal Administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa, in an interview with the newspaper Expresso in February.

The Army’s statement also states that the collaboration of the military with Civil Protection already occurs, “when requested, in the fight against forest fires in actions of surveillance, aftermath and post-civilian surveillance, in the provision of infrastructures and equipment and in the Provision of logistical support in order to contribute to the safety of people and goods and safeguarding the natural heritage in national territory. ”

According to data presented in November by the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) and the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), the area burned in 2016 almost tripled in relation to 2015, with a total of 152,251 hectares consumed by the fires.

The number of fires declined by 16% in 2016 compared to the previous year, with 13,137 incidents.

The area burned in 2016 is the highest in the last decade, but lower than in 2003 and 2005.

Fire events, however, have registered a downward trend.