On 15th Safe Communities Portugal attended the Presentation given by Comandante Vitor Vaz Pinto concerning the results of DECIR Algarve 2023.

Results presented, referring to the Special Device to Combat Rural Fires (DECIR) 2023, between January 1st and October 31st, are a reflection of a high spirit of selflessness, with a sense of mission and body, of all those who contributed to the defense of our rural space against fires.

  1. Investing in the training and qualification of human resources continued to be a priority in the Region. In this context, 33 training/operational training actions were carried out, totaling 797 hours of training/training, directly involving 546 operatives from the various Civil Protection Agents (APC) and Entities with a duty of Cooperation (EC). It is worth highlighting the continued implementation of operational training actions for tracked machine (MR) operators, coming from Municipal Councils and private companies.
  2. Although the accumulated daily meteorological severity values recorded in the Algarve Region exceed the values of the decade, the area burned in the year 2023 is considerably lower than “expected” based on the behaviour of each fire given the severity recorded in the period of its development.
  3. In terms of surveillance, they were covered by operational prevention teams, namely forestry sappers (ESF), municipal forestry intervention teams (EMIF), surveillance teams from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), by the Army Portuguese and National Republican Guard (GNR) 133,665 km in 12,312 hours of patrolling.
  4. Between January 1st and October 31st, the increase in risk required the elevation of the State of Special Alert (EAE) from the Integrated Protection and Relief Operations System (SIOPS) to DECIR, in 109 days, which translated into in increasing the readiness of response forces and adopting anticipatory measures.
  5. In a collective and coordinated effort, given the increase in EAE, firefighting teams (ECIN), firefighting brigades (BCIN) and firefighting groups (GCIN), were pre-positioned in Strategic Locations of Pre-Positioning (LEPP), close to the rural areas most vulnerable to the occurrence of rural fires. There were 14,508 hours of commitment in the Barrocal and Algarve mountains.
  6. Comparing the values for the year 2023 with the history of the previous 10 years, there were 16% fewer rural fires and 44% less burned area compared to the annual average for the period under analysis.
  7. Between January 1st and October 31st, 556 occurrences were recorded, which corresponds to an increase of 15.8% compared to the same period in 2022. It should be noted that there was a substantial increase in false alarms, which represent 51, 6% of occurrences.
  8. Of the 556 occurrences, 269 were fires whose ignition originated in the region and which resulted in a burned area of 789.77 hectares (ha). Compared to the previous year, although these values represent a 28% increase in the number of fires, there was a 62% reduction in the total burned area.

  1. The Baiona fire, in the municipality of Odemira, whose burned area was more than 7,500 ha, also considerably affected the municipalities of Aljezur (1,635.85 ha) and Monchique (363.59 ha), which represents 26.5 % of the total area burned in this large fire.
  2. Analysis, by level of commitment, of the comparison between the year 2022 and the year 2023, in terms of number of fires and burned area:
  3. Of the 269 fires, 259 were controlled in the initial attack (ATI), before reaching 90 minutes of fire, counting from the time of the alert. Only 10 fires were not extinguished in the initial phase, even though they benefited from a muscular ATI. The burned area that resulted from these fires represents 95.5% of the total area burned in fires started in the region.
  4. The municipalities of Loulé (62), Albufeira (33) and Silves (31) had the highest number of fires. However, in either case, the fires are mostly small in size (do not exceed 1 hectare of burned area). The most affected municipality, in terms of the burned area, is Aljezur with 1,924 hectares (1635.85 ha resulting from the Odemira fire), followed by Monchique with 412 hectares (363.59 ha resulting from the Odemira fire) and Castro Marim with 331 hectares.

  1. In 2023, fires with a burned area of less than 1 hectare were the most frequent, representing 94% of total rural fires. There were only 3 fires with a burned area exceeding 100 hectares. No fire was recorded, starting in the region, whose burned area exceeded 350 ha.
  2. Saturday is the day of the week with the highest number of fires recorded (45).
  3. 16% of fires had a starting time of 2 pm. It should be noted that 15% of fires occurred at night, that is, between 9 pm and 6 am.
  4. Of the total of 269 rural fires that occurred in the Region until October 31, all were investigated and the cause investigation process has been completed. The investigation allowed the attribution of a cause for 161 fires, the most frequent causes being the use of fire, accidents and arson.
  5. Heavy machinery was used in 11 fires, with 41 MRs being mobilized to fight fires. There were 449 hours of work (the equivalent of 18 days of operation).
  6. ATI air assets were committed to 264 missions. Of these, 53 missions involved intervention, which resulted in 43 fires being controlled outside the theater of operations (TO), representing an effectiveness rate of 81.1% in this dimension of the device.
  7. As performance indicators, the operational objectives established by National Operational Directive (DON) no. 2 – DECIR were observed, with the Region recording average media dispatch times of 50 seconds, a value that reflects the effectiveness of this process, well below the maximum time of 2 minutes provided for the entire continental territory.
  8. 20. The first land resources to arrive at the TO took, on average, 11 minutes and 42 seconds, well below the 20 minutes foreseen in DON no. 2 – DECIR. Regarding the arrival time of air resources from ATI to TO, the average was 8 minutes. The average fire resolution time was 34 minutes and 52 seconds, and the operating concept envisages putting out fires in their initial phase, up to 90 minutes after the alert.