Ceremony to honor the victims takes place on the 27th at the memorial in Pedrógão Grande

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The ceremony to honor the victims of the 2017 fires will be held on the 27th, at 5:00 pm, near the memorial in Pedrógão Grande, the president of the Intermunicipal Community of Leiria Region (CIMRL) told Lusa news agency today.

“It is not, exactly, an inauguration, because the monument is already open. It will be a ceremony to visit the space and where tribute will be paid to the victims of the 2017 fires,” said Gonçalo Lopes, also mayor of Leiria, in Porto de Mós, where a meeting of intermunicipal communities is being held today.

According to the president of the CIMRL, the initiative will be attended by members of the government, such as the Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, mayors of the affected regions, the Association of Victims of the Pedrógão Grande Fire, other entities linked to social and associative areas of these municipalities, the author of the memorial, architect Souto Moura, and the population.

The Memorial to the Victims of the 2017 Forest Fires, located next to National Road 236-1, in the area of Pobrais, Pedrógão Grande, was opened on Thursday without any public ceremony honoring the victims of the June and October 2017 forest fires. The absence of state figures prompted criticism from various sectors.

Designed by the architect Souto Moura, the memorial, an investment of 1.8 million euros, includes a framing lake, with an area of about 2,500 square meters, fed by a 60-meter long gargoyle, and bordered by a strip of plants consisting of white water lilies, lilies, and buttercups.

According to Infraestruturas de Portugal, owner of the project, “the memorial also includes, as a fundamental piece, a wall with the inscription of the name of each of the 115 people victimized in the forest fires of June and October 2017.”

Gonçalo Lopes said that the CIMRL is “finalizing a protocol with Infraestruturas de Portugal”, according to which that entity will be “responsible for the maintenance of the monument”.

“Naturally, we also end up being involved in this important moment in which we have increased management responsibility,” he said.

The fires that broke out on June 17, 2017 – it was six years ago Saturday – in Pedrógão Grande and spread to neighboring counties caused the deaths of 66 people, in addition to injuries to another 253, seven of which were serious. The fires destroyed about half a thousand homes and 50 businesses.

Most of the fatalities were found on National Road 236-1, which connects Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos, next to which the memorial was erected.

In October of the same year, other fires in the Central region caused 49 deaths and around 70 people were injured, with the total or partial destruction of around 1,500 homes and more than 500 businesses.

PSD leader says Pedrógão Grande tragedy must not be forgotten

Big fires like the one in Pedrógão can happen “anywhere / everywhere”.

Inauguration of the memorial to the 2017 fires decided by the CIM of Leiria and the victims’ association

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