Loulé will have a team of Sapadores Florestais that will reinforce the «prevention and protection of the county's rural areas».
Consisting of specialized workers, with a profile and training suitable for the exercise of forest management, protection and defense of the forest, under the coordination of the Forestry Technical Office, «this team comes to reinforce the existing prevention and combat structures, through an action combined efforts of the different entities involved in the defense of the forest against fire», says the City Council of Loulé.
With a permanent character, the team consists of six elements supported by a 4×4 vehicle equipped with communication equipment, first intervention equipment for rural fires (with a capacity of 500 liters), individual protection equipment, mechanical and manual equipment.
«The aim is, with the functioning of this team, to increase the capacity to respond to rural fires during the critical period and intervene in preventive forestry actions during the rest of the year, also increasing investment in structural prevention in the Municipality», he adds.
Sapadores' team will be based in the former Casa dos Cantoneiros, in Vale Maria Dias, on the EN2, near Cortelha, taking into account the strategic location of the building (which is under renovation and expansion) which will be the Advanced Protection Unit Civil Municipal, located in the middle of Serra do Caldeirão, one of the most sensitive areas in the region in terms of forest fires.
This team will integrate the forest patrol with the existing Municipal Forest Intervention Teams, with regard to armed surveillance, during the forest fire season, thus leaving the Municipality to have three teams with these skills, which result in practical implementation of a municipal structure (provided with means and resources) in order to respond to the growing challenges and current demands that are placed on Municipal Civil Protection.
The Municipality of Loulé has an area of 763,67 km², of which 40% is occupied by the very high and high forest fire hazard classes, and about 51,3% of its surface is classified as a protected area, encompassing a great diversity of habitats, rich in fauna and flora, geological heritage and other resources that urgently need to be protected from the threat of forest fires.