The priority is to have the helicopter landing strip ready before the end of the month, so that it can be integrated, from the outset, into the Special Device for Combating Rural Fires (DECIR), but Ana Paula Martins, mayor of Tavira, still hopes that the work on the Centro de Meios Aéreos de Cachopo will be completed «by the end of July», as planned.
This was one of the interventions that Ana Abrunhosa, Minister of Territorial Cohesion, visited yesterday, Tuesday, in the municipality of Tavira, all of them co-financed by European funds.
In the case of the investment of around 2,3 million that is transforming the old Cachopo heliport into an infrastructure with new features, which will make it possible to offer better conditions to the teams of the Emergency Protection and Help Unit (UEPS) of the GNR and the firefighters who work there, the contribution is 60%.
To this end, in addition to the runway, which already existed and «is being rehabilitated», a new building is being built from scratch, which «will have dormitories, a social room, a kitchen and a space where the prevention teams can accommodate equipment, make the exit to the helicopter quickly and undress and shower when they return from fighting fires. It is also where they can have some moments of leisure and rest», according to the mayor of Tavira.
The urgency «at this moment is the rehabilitation of the runway, which we want, by the end of May, to be operational in order to be able to receive the helicopter as soon as possible».
«The deadline for the work is very tight and we would expect that, in July, it would be finished. However, the contract includes not only the runway, but also the exterior arrangement of the building and the entire access, which will be paved, will have public lighting and sewage», explained Ana Paula Martins.
The mayor of Tavira admits that part of these interventions “may be done later”.
For Ana Abrunhosa, who made «a very positive assessment» of her time in the municipality of Tavira, this work «is very important, because it has an impact in terms of civil protection, both in prevention and in fighting fires».
In a first phase, this air resources center will only operate during the critical season of risk of fires, but Ana Paula Martins' ambition is to have a helicopter and teams deployed throughout the year, in the future.