The government is investing 500 million euros in fire prevention and control in the interior pine forest.

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The Secretary of State for Nature Conservation and Forestry today highlighted the investment being made in the Inland Pinhal, particularly in the counties affected by the 2017 fires, which this year amounts to around 500 million euros (ME) in prevention and control.

“In 2017, investment was 20% in prevention and 80% in fighting. Currently, it is around 50% in each axis. Total investment in both axes has more than doubled compared to 2017 (143 million euros), and this year is the largest investment ever, around 500 million euros”, explained, in a note sent to the Lusa agency, João Paulo Catarino.

Today, together with the region’s local mayors, the governor visited work to recover burnt areas, the primary network, rural fire prevention and natural regeneration in areas of the municipalities of Figueiró dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, in the Leiria district, and Pampilhosa da Serra (Coimbra district), in the Pinhal Interior, affected by the 2017 fires.

The Secretary of State highlighted the main results achieved in prevention after 2017, thanks in particular to the changes introduced and the approval of the integrated rural fire management system.

According to available data, there has been “a halving of the number of rural fires, including on the most unfavorable days, a reduction in rural fires during the summer months due to the use of fire, a significant reduction in fires of over 500/1000 hectares and a reduction in the area burned to a third of the historical average burned area (compared with the 2001/2017 average)”.

With regard to prevention actions in the Inland Pine Forest region, 26,000 hectares were subject to fuel management actions, including 22,000 hectares of fuel management mosaics and secondary networks, 3,800 hectares of primary networks, 370 hectares of fire control and extensive burning actions.

Work has also been carried out on over 18,000 kilometers of forest road installation/improvement and over 500 water point installation/benefit actions.

The government also launched a series of policy measures in response to the 2017 fires, including the Landscape Transformation Program (LTP), which targets vulnerable forest territories.

These, are underway in the Pinhal Interior, namely in the seven municipalities affected by the June 2017 fires (Castanheira de Pêra, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Góis, Pampilhosa da Serra, Pedrógão Grande, Penela and Sertã), as part of the PTP’s programmatic measures, funded by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR).

Five Landscape Rehabilitation and Management Programs (PRGP) are currently being prepared.

João Paulo Catarino highlights the creation of seven Integrated Landscape Management Areas (ZIPs) in municipalities affected by the June 2017 fires, covering more than 16,500 hectares, which, in terms of PRR investment, “should amount to 30 million euros”.

“Across Pinhal Interior (19 municipalities), 38 AIGPs are constituted (38% of the total AIGPs approved), covering around 60 thousand hectares (representing 42% of the total area of AIGPs approved in the country), which, in terms of PRR investment, is expected to reach 100 million euros”.

Also approved were 24 applications to the Village Condominium program in the seven municipalities of the three concluded calls for analysis, for a total amount of 1.644 million euros for interventions in 42 villages.

In the notice closed last April (currently under analysis), nine applications were submitted, for a proposed investment of close to two million euros, with proposals for intervention in 37 villages.

Across all Pinhal Interior municipalities, 53 applications were approved, representing more than 3.5 million euros to support 102 villages.

In addition to the ongoing investments financed by the RRP, as part of the PTP, the Rural Development Plan (PDR) 2020 also stands out, with the approval of 67 applications in the seven municipalities, for a total investment of 26 million euros and representing public aid of over 11 million euros.

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