AMI admits it will have 72 aerial fire-fighting resources by 2023

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The Minister for Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro, admitted today that Portugal could have 72 aerial firefighting resources this year, but warned that it was “still” necessary to wait for “administrative procedures” to be completed.

“If everything goes according to plan, we will have more resources [than in 2022] and maybe, as the Air Force Chief of Staff told me today, we will be able to reach the target of 72 airborne resources,” Carneiro told reporters.

The National Operational Directive (DON), which establishes the Special Device for Fighting Field Fires (DECIR) for 2023, presented in April, indicated 72 airborne resources for the period between June 1 and September 30.

The Minister for Internal Administration insisted that it is “still necessary to wait for certain administrative procedures linked to calls for tender” before the target for the number of aerial means available to fight fires in Portugal can be reached.

According to the Minister, we must wait until “July 1”, when the definitive number of aircraft can be announced, referring also to the recent difficulties encountered in obtaining aircraft.

“We are preparing to have, at the very least, the same air resources as in 2022 (…). We know that Northern European countries didn’t need aerial resources because they didn’t know anything about forest fires. This time, as we can see, for example in Germany, northern European countries have also gone to the market to buy aerial resources, which has made aerial resources rarer”, he declared.

On the other hand, he said the war in Ukraine had led to a “significant” increase in the price of firefighting equipment.

“Due to the increase in prices, international tenders have shown that market values are much higher than 2021 prices,” he said.

José Luís Carneiro was speaking to journalists at the Figo Maduro No. 1 transit airfield in Lisbon, as he witnessed the departure of the 140 members of the mixed national force who will be taking part in firefighting in Canada.

Meanwhile, asked by journalists about the political crisis in Spain, where early elections are scheduled for July 23, the Minister of Internal Administration said that cooperation efforts in the event of serious fires “will not be affected in any way”.

“Institutions, independent of governments, have structured and sustainable cooperation mechanisms so that cooperation is established within the framework of state-to-state relations and is not dependent on governments momentarily exercising their functions,” he stressed.

With regard to cooperation with Spain in this field, the Minister for Internal Administration also declared that the approval of the Portuguese request within the framework of the European Civil Protection Mechanism for two aerial fire-fighting resources financed by the European Union had received Madrid’s support.

These airborne resources were “to be pre-positioned” in areas that could also contribute to the support of the Iberian Peninsula, namely Castelo Branco.

The National Operational Directive (DON), which establishes the Special Countryside Fire Fighting Arrangement (DECIR) for 2023, specifies 72 airborne resources for the period from June 01 to September 30.

Portugal will be the second most affected European country by forest fires in 2022

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