On 21st January 2019 the Prime Minister António Costa presided over the installation of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fire (AGIF), at the Centre for Forest Operations and Techniques, at a ceremony attended by the Ministers of National Defence, Gomes Cravinho, Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, Deputy and Economy, Siza Vieira, Planning and Infrastructure, Pedro Marques, Environment and Energy Transition, Matos Fernandes, and Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Capoulas Santos.

The members of the Government visited the Centre for Forest Operations and Techniques and participated in a meeting of the integrated Management of Rural Fire Management System , prior to the installation of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fire (AGIF), chaired by Tiago Oliveira.

The Prime Minister recalled that there had been, especially since 2006, ‘a distraction that can not be restored’ with regard to forest and rural fires. The Government approved the structural reform of the forest and also several measures (some of which are published in the Diário da República today ).

We can never be rested

António Costa said that “we can never be rested in relation to the risks of fire that exist”, especially as climate change has increased in recent years the protection conditions of the Portuguese forest as well as the populations.

“There is a global problem of climate change that has aggravated the conditions for the outbreak of fires, where desertification of the interior territories and forest disorganization already led to the occurrence of fires,” he said.

Therefore, the Government enforced the Fire Prevention Act, especially during the winter, and strengthened the whole system to improve fire-fighting interventions, in particular preventing them from reaching large proportions.

António Costa pointed out that for this year the Government has reserved 360 million euros for actions of prevention, surveillance and firefighting, of which about 158 ​​million euros are for prevention, beginning on the 25th the information and warning campaign, called ‘Portugal chama!’.

AGIF, headquartered in Lousã, will have 18 employees, distributed throughout the mainland’s other intermunicipal communities, which constitute the main network of the Integrated Management System for Rural Fire.