Two medium bomber aircraft permanently in the Algarve are the big news of the 2023 DECIR

Special Device for Combating Rural Fires in the Algarve was presented today, with the Minister of Internal Administration

Minister of Internal Administration visiting Algarsafe – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Two medium bomber planes, permanently stationed in the Algarve, between June 1 and October 15, are the big news of the Special Device for Combating Rural Fires (DECIR) for this year, announced Vítor Vaz Pinto, regional commander of Emergency and Protection Civil, at a ceremony in Portimão, which was attended by the Minister of Internal Administration.

The two Fireboss aircraft will operate from the Portimão Airfield. The two remaining planes that will intervene in DECIR in the Algarve operate from the Beja Air Base.

Another novelty announced is the addition of 11 Permanent Intervention Teams, in the fire departments of Albufeira, Aljezur, Faro/Cruz Lusa, Lagoa, Monchique, Portimão, São Brás de ASlportel, Silves and Vila Real de Santo António and Castro Marim.

There will also be two more teams from the National Corps of Forest Agents from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, as well as the reinforcement of a team from the Sapadores Florestais Fire Force of the ICNF, with nine elements, specialized in consolidating the extinction of fires.

A change compared to last year is also the strengthening of the Regional Operational Command Post for the management of highly complex events, in order to ensure operation for several consecutive days.


Commander Vaz Pinto – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


According to Commander Vaz Pinto, in terms of air resources, the Algarve will have 4 initial attack helicopters (one of them based in Ourique), an extended attack helicopter, based at the Centro de Meios Aéreos de São Brás de Alportel, 4 bomber aircraft medium helicopters (two stationed at the Portimão Airfield, as of 1 June, the remaining two at Beja Air Base), a light bomber helicopter operating from Monchique, a heavy bomber helicopter operating from São Brás de Alportel .

The official added that, in terms of surveillance, there will be 12 lookout posts, in permanent operation from 5 May "at least until 4 November".

The ICNF contributes with seven surveillance teams, made up of 19 nature watchers, as well as two teams from the National Corps of Forestry Agents.

The municipalities of Monchique, Loulé, São Brás de Alportel and Tavira signed protocols with the Army, which will carry out patrolling, surveillance and dissuasion functions.

At the level of the first intervention, there will be 21 teams, in a total of 100 operational.

In permanent terms, 382 firefighters are available, supported by 89 technical means, to which are added two combat groups, made up of firefighters outside the device and a high degree of readiness.

The GNR Emergency, Protection and Help Unit will ensure the crew of the three helicopters stationed in São Brás and Monchique, among other missions.

DECIR also has 11 crawler machines, 10 belonging to the municipalities and one to the ICNF, prepositioned in Loulé.

Before presenting the device and the means, Commander Vaz Pinto had already warned that, this year, due to the drought, with the dams well below their normal capacity, this will end up being «a constraint for the fight» against possible fires, since it will be more difficult to supply the planes.

The drought and all the factors surrounding it, as well as the characteristics of the region, make the person responsible foresee «an extremely complex summer from the point of view of the defense of the forest».


António Pina, president of AMAL – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Precisely to help with this defense, the presentation of DECIR was also used for the signing of a protocol between the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL), and the Mastional Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, also ratified by Minister José Luís Carneiro.

The protocol makes it possible to reinforce funding for Algarve firefighters by a further 621.184 euros, paid by the 16 Algarve municipalities, in order to add 23 euros per day to the compensation paid to firefighters, who will thus earn 87,2 euros per day, for every 24 hours of service.

António Pina, mayor of Olhão and AMAL, underlined that all Algarve mayors are "committed to this partnership, which is unique in the country". The fight against the Covid-19 epidemic has made the region gain "the good habit of articulating", he explained.

In his speech, the Minister of Internal Administration defended the need for more «information work with citizens», since, until April, «64% of fires originated from the negligent use of fire [for burning and burning] or machines ».

José Luís Carneiro added that, if after 2017 and the Pedrógão tragedy, «protection was concentrated in rural areas, in buildings», now, using the «lessons learned», namely those resulting from the great fire in Serra da Estrela last year , «we must also be able to fight fires within the forest».

Now, taking into account the orography and vegetation cover of much of the Portuguese territory, this, "sometimes, requires combat on foot", explained the official. For this very reason, he stressed that the ICNF has strengthened its capabilities, at the level of the Special Civil Protection Force and Sapadores Florestais.

DECIR's presentation took place in Portimão, within the framework of the AlgarSafe event, a display of the most modern equipment in the various areas of Civil Protection.

The hostess, Isilda Gomes, mayor of Portimão, spoke of the need for a staircase, which does not exist in the Algarve. «We have buildings with 30 floors and we can’t get there».


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação



In 2022, there were 2075 hectares of burned area in the Algarve

97% of this area corresponds to only 2 fires.

In 10 years, 49.961 hectares burned in the Algarve

There is an average of 582 occurrences per year

31% of the Algarve is classified as high and very high danger

Since 2018, 41.287 hectares have already been intervened (fuel and road management)

This year, 870 hectares were intervened in the Algarve


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

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