The Prime Minister António Costa announced that the Government declared a public calamity in all districts north of the Tagus to ensure the mobilization of more means to combat forest fires.

The Prime Minister made this statement at the National Command of Relief Operations of the National Civil Protection Authority in Oeiras, accompanied by the Minister of Internal Administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa.

“A decree of public calamity was signed by me and by the Minister of Internal Affairs in all the districts north of the Tagus, in order to create the best conditions for the mobilization of means and, in particular, to guarantee voluntary firefighters their rights to participate in this mission, ensuring the justification of absences in the workplace and two days of rest for each one in which they are participating in the fight against the fires, “said António Costa.

Condolences to families, encouragement to firefighters

The Prime Minister began by expressing condolences to the families of the victims of the fires on October 15, conveying “a word of solidarity with all the populations that have been threatened by a day that was devastating throughout the country.

António Costa also left “a word of encouragement to the more than 12,000 operatives who throughout the day tried to stop the flames and the more than 6,000 who are still fighting the flames at the moment”.

On October 15 there were “523 fires in the whole of the country and therefore the means were stretched to the limits”, “at a stage of the year in which, by the normal conditions of the climate, it is more difficult to mobilize resources. ”

“We will surely have a very difficult day,” on October 16th. “The forecasts of the meteorological evolution may allow some hope in the coastal areas, but for the interior areas we will still have very high levels of fire risk throughout the day,” said António Costa.


Reform of systems of prevention and combat

The Prime Minister said that “this was a dramatic year from the point of view of the tragedy of human lives, from the point of view of the extent of material damage, from the point of view of gravity and prolongation of occurrences. And therefore, nothing can remain as it was. ”

The political responsibility of the Government is to transform the recommendations of the Independent Technical Commission “into reality and to act”, with the “awareness that moving from a report to reality necessarily implies time, political action, mobilization of resources, mobilization of resources ‘.

The Council of Ministers will meet on October 21 to discuss forest and fire issues, paying particular attention to the conclusions contained in the report of the Independent Technical Commission on the fires that occurred last June in Pedrogão Grande and Góis.