still the fire

The owners of this all know everything and continue to act with impunity

For those who have been concerned all their lives with the Conservation of Nature and have always defended the existence of balanced forests in our country, it is inevitable to have to say something about the calamity of yet another forest fire in Monchique, which they now want to name as “rural fire ” – perhaps to make us forget that its origin was in the forest area.

Their cause was what they call forest, but it's just bush and scrub, poorly managed and uncontrolled, since…the last fire 15 years ago!

So many people have talked and written about the subject, and so many self-feathered people have assumed themselves as “experts”, that seeing me now modestly talk about the case is like raining in the wet.

But I'm a forest technician, I was a Forest Administrator in a mountain area, where fires also started, I've spent my life debating these and other related issues, and so I want to believe that this will be one of the last times, if not the last, in that I come back to the charge with my opinion – if so many people gave their opinion, maybe I can still give mine.

I always come back to the same thing: there is no National Forest Authority that coordinates the entire management of the forest area; in ending the Forest Service and extinguishing the National Forest Guard Corps, they committed a crime, just like that, a crime! It was necessary to establish in the territory, as it existed here since the XNUMXth century and exists in all countries in the world that have forest area, from a national body. We are a world specificity also in this aberration!

The State is relinquishing its responsibilities by passing on to the Local Authorities the elaboration of regional forest management plans, as is the entire area of ​​the “Monchique Mountains”, which, as is known, spread over more than one municipality.

It was just what was missing (!!), as if the Local Authorities did not already have enough to worry about municipal management.

Now the regional management and ordering of the mountain ranges being the responsibility of an Autarchy is the maximum amount of brazenness and easing of responsibilities. You are amazed to see this policy.

The forest guards are not even mentioned, they were not mere policemen to go to the GNR, they were technicians framed in a hierarchy of knowledge, followed by Forest Masters (great lords in the mountains!!) and Forest Technicians, even Administrator and Chief of Circumscription with a regional character.

This grid monitored the territory, prevented the clearing of the woods and bushes, urged private individuals to do so, controlled the output of the felling of trees, which, left on the ground, as it happens now, is the same powder keg from which serves the fire.

Today there is no territorial organization, the ICNF is a bureaucratic scam, it does not manage the forests as it should, for lack of implementation, and it stole the management of Protected Areas for the Environment, reducing its impact on the territory – as it suits someone...

What are forestry technicians for? Have you seen any among the “authorities” who are deciding how to fight the fire? In addition to the inglorious effort of hundreds of men and women for a week, and aerial means dumping water (which does not even reach the ground, in those conditions of relief and temperature!!), some forestry strategy was seen to retain and control the fire ? Were any techniques used that foresters know (or knew) to use to control the fire? How could it not have been possible, with so long waiting for the fire to evolve, to prevent the fire from passing the line of fissures at Fóia and Picota?

As a matter of fact, it's not worth continuing and writing, the owners of all of this know everything and continue to act with impunity – success is only talked about in success, to mask that there is no courage to admit mistakes and give a helping hand to the paddle!!

Author Fernando Santos Pessoa
Forestry engineer, landscape architect