The Secretary of State for Civil Protection, Patrícia Gaspar, affirmed that the Government has “four major measures” planned to mitigate the possible impact of the reduction of operational personnel in the fight against fires as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the Assembly of the Republic, during the Committee on Agriculture and Sea, the Secretary of State stressed that the reduction of the risk of contamination among operational personnel of the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) is an “absolutely fundamental aspect this year”.
“We currently have four major measures in mind, which have to do with the rotation of the device, the use of redundancy forces, balancing (balancing) means between districts and reinforcing surveillance in critical areas,” said Patrícia Gaspar.
The Device has a double challenge in 2020: to guarantee the fight against rural fires and the protection of the forest and, at the same time, to protect the operational ones that can contract Covid-19.
DECIR has “an increase of 3% compared to the numbers of 2019 and an increase of 18% compared to the average of the last years”, with absolute numbers of 11827 operational, supported by 2664 vehicles and 60 air means.
If fires reach more complex situations, up to 18 reinforcement groups are foreseen in different districts that can be balanced according to the risks and occurrences and teams of command posts prepared for more complex fires, as well as reconnaissance teams and assessment and heavy machinery at the county level to support extinction and aftermath operations.
Patrícia Gaspar added that the numbers for 2020 are encouraging so far. “It is the best year of the last ten, both in terms of the number of occurrences and in terms of the burnt area,” he said.
To guarantee the safety of all operational personnel, and within the scope of the material paid by the State to combat Covid-19, 700 thousand individual protection equipment were distributed by the fire brigades.
The Secretary of State also said that a tender is underway to acquire 10,000 personal protective equipment to fight fires.