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Portugal : The greatest threat to internal security facing the country is the risk of fire.

"We are all well aware that the greatest threat to internal security that the country faces is the one associated with the risks of fire caused by climate change," said Prime Minister Antnio Costa on the first day of formation of 600 new GNR military personnel, in the training center of Portalegre.

The Prime Minister emphasized that these risks 'are not an abstraction', as they result in periods of drought in which 'animals that are no longer fed' and populations that 'have no means of survival'.

"This new course, which we are launching today, is designed to allow a reinforcement of 600 elements for the GNR so that 500 more guard soldiers can join the Intervention, Protection and Relief Group and another 100 guard soldiers can join in the Protection of Nature and Environment Service, "he said.

Reinforcement of firefighters, sappers and rangers

The reinforcement of fire prevention and fire-fighting is also done by the creation of new teams of permanent intervention in the voluntary fire brigades, so that, within volunteering, there is a nucleus of professionals trained, prepared to intervene also in scenario forest fires, "said Antnio Costa.

"It is also done by the reinforcement of 500 new forest saplers, who throughout the winter and fall will clean up the forest and then proceed during the summer in surveillance actions, but also first intervention," he added.

Antnio Costa announced that he will open a competition for 200 new forest rangers during April, and that there is a reinforcement of commitment by the Armed Forces in situations of great calamity.

Contribution of GNR

The Prime Minister pointed out that the reinforcement and contribution that the GNR gives is essential, because only the Guard is present both in the prevention and in the fight against forest fires.

"Today informing people of what to do, tomorrow watching what has been done and what is to be done, the day after tomorrow patrolling on the ground and then, when the flame appears, be the first to try to eliminate the flame , because as we know a flame goes off with the foot, a great fire, after, is very difficult to manage, "he said.

Antnio Costa also said that the role of the GNR in supervising the cleaning of forests is not to tax the owners, but to ensure that the cleaning obligations of the forests are fulfilled.

Ensure that everyone fulfills their obligations

"An untreated forest is a risk to the lives of all, and therefore what is at stake here is not to collect fines, not to prosecute people, but is to ensure that everyone fulfills their obligations," he said, adding that "what is at stake is if we all contribute to the safety of all".

The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, attended the first day of formation of the 600 new GNR soldiers, in an exceptional incorporation aimed at replacing the military that passes to the Intervention, Protection and Relief Group (GIPS) and Nature and Environment Protection Service (SEPNA), with special responsibility in the prevention and combat of forest fires.

The GIPS courses will be held in March and April, and the SEPNA courses will be completed before the start of the critical period of forest fires.

The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, said that with this reinforcement of 500 elements, GIPS, which until now were present in 11 of the 18 districts, will begin to intervene throughout the Continent.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Feb 27, 2018
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