Loulé: Army reinforces patrols to prevent fires in the municipality

Until September 30th

The Infantry Regiment nº 1 of the Portuguese Army joins, once again, the municipal device for fighting forest fires in the municipality of Loulé to increase prevention. 

The protocol between the security force and the municipality was signed this week and will support the presence of military personnel in inland areas, with a view to defending the natural and human heritage.

“We establish this protocol every year to help local authorities; it is the municipalities that ask us to complement their normal patrols carried out by the GNR and Civil Protection», explains João Henriques, army infantry colonel.

In the joint operation, the routes are defined by the coordinating entity, with the Army team in permanent contact with the Regional Emergency and Civil Protection Command of the Algarve and the Loulé Municipal Civil Protection Service. As in previous years, the military’s scope of action covers a large part of the interior of the mountains, even rural and agricultural areas of the Barrocal south of the EN 270.

«The presence of the military on the ground, especially at night, contributes not only to deter, but also to prevent some outbreak of fire, not least because “in the event of a sighting, firefighting will be faster2″», stresses the municipality. in a press release.

In addition to surveillance, the Army will contribute to raising awareness, informing and supporting local communities.

«We don't always carry binoculars in our face because we also make contact with the population, the people who live more isolated, the elderly. We complement the entire patrolling action with proximity to the population», underlines João Henriques.

In the Algarve, in addition to Loulé, the Infantry Regiment nº 1 also operates in Monchique, Tavira and S. Brás de Alportel. In total, it has about 30 men – with four different patrols.

«These teams broadcast the surveillance movements and then the soldiers are replaced or surrendered at established periods, more or less than a week between each one, and we are thus renewing people so that they do not get tired in the same place», says the colonel.

Under this protocol, ground patrol may occasionally be replaced by air patrol. The surveillance period runs from the 1st of July to the 30th of September, but, if justified, the period may be extended.

On the part of the Municipality, councilor Carlos Carmo highlights the good results that this protocol has given over the years.

«The Army has played an important role in the municipal defense of the forest against fires. The surveillance actions carried out considerably increase our response capacity. We are well aware that at this critical moment we cannot let our guard down and that is also what we are doing through the conclusion of this protocol”, he says.

The municipality of Loulé is the largest in the Algarve and covers an area of ​​763 square kilometres. «40% of the total corresponds to an area of ​​very high forest danger, while 51,3% of the territory is classified as a protected area», the municipality also mentions.