New Rural Fire Plan aims to reduce burned areas by half by 2030

The president of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fires (AGIF) today highlighted that each region of the country will have its own program depending on the specificity of the territory under the new fire prevention plan.

One day after being presented in parliament, AGIF today takes stock of the public consultation of the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires (PNGIFR) in Santarém, which lasted two months and ended on February 5th.

This plan, whose main objective is to reduce the burnt area by half by 2030, will allow each region to have its own action plan, since the forest and vegetation are not the same, Lusa Tiago Oliveira told the agency.

The same official outlined as a “strategic objective” the need to have a forest “more socially valued”, with the owner now receiving money to manage it and, with this, being able to “take care of the forest and invest”, taking into account that 95% of the area is private.

“In this plan, the novelty is to pose the problem, highlight it and go looking for solutions to solve the problems in co-responsibility with landowners and local entities,” he said.

With a time horizon of a decade, the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires provides that in 2030 1.2 million hectares of forest have been cleared, corresponding to “20% of the six million hectares that exist in the territory with risk of fire”.

The goals to be achieved also foresee that within 10 years the burnt areas with more than 500 hectares will be fully managed and with recovery plans implemented, and that there will be less than 80% of ignitions on fire risk days.

The plan foresees a total expenditure of more than six billion euros, with an expected investment of 60% to be directed to prevention and 40% to combat.

Tiago Oliveira also explained that, during the public discussion, more than 75 sessions were held across the country, in which about two thousand people participated, and AGIF has received, so far, approximately 115 contributions.

Within the scope of the public consultation, several entities pointed out criticisms of the Plan, namely the League of Portuguese Firefighters, the Independent Technical Observatory on fires created by the parliament and environmental association Quercus.

One of the criticisms was that the role of firefighters and other Civil Protection agents, such as forest sappers, was not defined.

Tiago Oliveira underlined that the Plan “does not highlight the role of any particular actor”, but assured that the role of the fireman is foreseen, being even reinforced in the sphere of planning and in the involvement with the population in raising awareness.

The same official said that AGIF will now integrate the contributions received during the public consultation and make the adjustments it deems necessary so that the Government can then approve the plan by the end of March this year.

After PNGIFR is approved by the Council of Ministers, AGIF will also prepare national and regional action programs, which are expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

According to Tiago Oliveira, the PNGIFR that was in public consultation “is a strategic document”.

The closing seminar of the public discussion process of the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires will be attended by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Ministers of Internal Administration and the Environment and Climate Action, Eduardo Cabrita and João Matos Fernandes respectively.

CMP // ZO


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