Monchique hosts Iberian fire prevention and firefighting project meeting

The CILIFO project will allow the construction of new heliports in Monchique and Tavira and the expansion of the one in Loulé

Deepening the relationship and articulation between the partners of the cross-border project for preventing and fighting forest fires in the Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia Euroregion is the objective of a meeting of the partners of the CILIFO project – Iberian Center for Research and Fight against Forest Fires, which will tomorrow and then, Thursday and Friday, the 13th and 14th, in Monchique.

The holding of the meeting, which will bring together the 15 partner entities of the consortium led by the Junta de Andalusia, "is linked to the need to boost cross-border interregional cooperation, contributing to the European integration of the regional space and to the strengthening of its competitiveness , based on sustainable development strategies at regional and local levels», according to José Apolinário, president of the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR).

In this way, it will be possible to «promote and guarantee adequate intersectoral coordination between decentralized services of a regional scope, in terms of strategic coordination and planning of interventions of an environmental, economic and social nature, from a regional development perspective».

In the Algarve, the CILIFO project includes the construction of two heliports, one in Monchique and the other in Tavira, as well as the expansion of the one in Loulé.

In progress since April 2022 is the contract to expand the Loulé Heliport, which should be completed in March 2023.

The future Centro de Meios Aereos de Monchique has already received a visa from the Court of Auditors and is beginning to be built.

In Tavira, the process of the Centro de Meios Aereos de Cachopo is not advanced. The contract was approved at the Municipal Assembly of 30 September 2022 and is awaiting approval from the Court of Auditors.

The work of the Local Training Unit of the National School of Firefighters, to be built in Azinhal, Castro Marim, which already has an architecture and specialties project, came to be integrated into CILIFO, but, «considering the exponential increase in the cost of materials, this component of the project will be part of a future programme, as it cannot be carried out within the current deadline nor with the costs initially foreseen».

Co-financed under the Interreg VA España – Portugal Program (POCTEP) 2014-2020, the CILIFO project «aims to prepare EuroAAA for the prevention and, above all, for the fight against forest fires».

In the Algarve, it has as partners the municipalities of Castro Marim, Loulé, Monchique and Tavira, the Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), and has been accompanied, since its inception, by the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) and the CCDR Algarve, while managing entity of POCTEP.

«This is a project that involves 15 beneficiaries, responsible for the implementation of 18 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which corresponds to the contribution of a total initial investment of 24 million euros, approved in 2018 and which will end, - after extension -, in June 2023. For the Algarve region, around 2,8 million euros are allocated», according to the Algarve CCDR.

ANEPC ensures the framework of the investments foreseen in the National and Regional Strategy of Emergency and Civil Protection and the technical supervision; From the initial project, an attempt was made to improve the characteristics of the heliports, providing them with other features for civil aviation, which required new project specifications and opinions from the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).

AMAL, within the scope of its competences and as included in the project, has promoted CILIFO training, information and dissemination actions in the Algarve.

In addition to the infrastructure under construction in Spain and in the region, the CILIFO project is promoting outreach work, raising awareness among the populations, developing studies through the academic communities and promoting the training of firefighters and civil protection operators.