Forest Fires – Communiqué of the Ministerial Council of January 18, 2018

On 18th January The Council of Ministers approved two diplomas that consolidate the strategy of forest defence and fire prevention and combat, implementing the measures decided in the RCM of 21st October 2017 regarding the strengthening of the level of protection of people and goods and the resilience of the territory to the occurrence of rural fires.

In compliance with the recommendations contained in the report produced by the Independent Technical Commission, the approved measures are aimed at implementing changes of a transversal nature that guarantee a better articulation between the fire prevention and control mechanisms, the professionalism and training of the operators and the specialization of the means.

 

In this regard, the following were approved:

The resolution defining the Single Prevention and Combat Directive. This directive approves, for the first time and in an integrated way, the responsibilities of the various participants in the system, improving flexibility and coordination between them, from the planning stage through prevention to the suppression of rural fires.

In addition to the prevention and combat approach, is to reinforce structural prevention and the incorporation of specialized knowledge in the system, through the creation of a pool of forest fire experts, which will allow qualified technical support to the operational command of rural firefighting.

The involvement of civil society, owners, rural producers, producer organizations, municipalities, civil and military public institutions, all civil protection agents and other entities with relevant knowledge and experience are sought in a cooperative effort and collaboration, with shared responsibility.

On the other hand, the transparency of the system is also strengthened because it is a public document and a free disclosure. In this way it also contributes to the system’s greater capacity of evaluation and accountability of its actors.

The decree-law approving the organization of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fire (AGIF), which is responsible for the integrated analysis, planning and strategic coordination of the Integrated Rural Fire Management System (SGIFR), including qualified support for intervention at high risk events.

Based on the reformulation of the principles of the forest fire defence system, the SGIRF is oriented towards the protection and sustainability of forest areas and for the safeguarding of people and property, including population groups.

With the creation of the AGIF, it is recognized the need to close the main gaps identified by the Independent Technical Commission created to analyze the events related to the fires that occurred between June 17 and 24, 2017, in terms of planning, integration and interaction between entities and interventions, strategy, intelligence and evaluation of the system.

The AGIF seeks to ensure the integrated analysis of the system, to ensure its soundness and effectiveness, and the articulation of the entities that comprise it, namely, the National Civil Protection Authority, the Republican National Guard and the Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forestry . It also promotes the strengthening of information and communication systems in support of operational decision-making.


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