"In 2017 almost everyone stated that the consequences that resulted from the fires in June and October of that year could not be repeated. Despite improvements in some components of the system, we are not sure that the country is sufficiently prepared to face events of the same magnitude", can be read in the information note issued by the Observatory.
A few days before the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Forest Fires, which is marked on 17 June, the Observatory highlights that the variables that determined the fateful fires of June and October of that year, and which killed more than a hundred people, "remain without structural changes", enumerating that there is work to be done in terms of "planning, forest management, recovery of burnt areas and mitigation of inappropriate risks".
Simultaneously, the report released points to "insufficient training and qualification of agents, lack of definition in the model of territorial organisation to be adopted by the State services, the precarious work of several agents, the lack of recruitment for operational command posts and the maintenance of some risk behaviours by the population in conditions favourable to the occurrence of fires" as points yet to be resolved.
"The planning and operationalisation in terms of prevention and defence of the forest against fires still need an inclusive vision of all agents, in a joint effort between the various entities involved based on an inter-agency model", points out the Observatory, adding that "there have been steps taken since 2017, but there is still a long way to go".
For this entity, the risk tends to worsen as a result of the changes in the landscape and the climate changes underway, so it calls for, three years after 2017, "the country cannot be satisfied with what has already been done, but rather, concentrate, with considerable and warned humility, on the much that remains to be done".
Despite these indications, in this reflection the Observatory points out as "positive" the improvement in the perception of risk in the protection of people and property, revealing that "the most significantly positive finding since 2017 was the reduction in the number of ignitions", which it considers to be particularly important on days of adverse weather conditions.
The Observatory says that this reduction could be interpreted as a result of the reduction in the area with the potential to burn, the change in society's behaviour, the greater awareness and greater activity of the GNR, betting on the identification and detention of suspects, the perception of the better functioning of the system judicial or media campaigns (Portugal Chama).
On the combat side, the Observatory recognises that there is more work to be done, pointing out that a commitment to professionalisation is necessary, with "training and qualification of agents, reinforcement of equipment, profitability of installed capacity at local, regional and national level, recruitment of technicians for the qualified performance of specialised functions in emergency management and intervention planning for all agents of the system in a logic of territorial complementarity".