Portuguese army guards rural areas in the municipality of Loulé

The City Council of Loulé and the Portuguese Army have signed, for the fifth consecutive year, the patrolling and surveillance protocol, within the framework of the Municipal Strategy for the Defense of the Forest against Fires, reaffirming that the establishment of this partnership has proven to be an excellent practice in preventice civil protection.

This act was formalised in the Noble Hall of the Paços do Concelho building, by the mayor, Vítor Aleixo, and the Infantry Colonel Aníbal Saraiva, representing the Portuguese Army - Infantry Regiment nº 1.

The presence of the military will be felt essentially in the inland parishes of the Municipality of Loulé, taking into account that 40% of the total area of these parishes is occupied by the very high forest danger classes, including the Protected Landscape areas of Rocha da Pena and Fonte Benémola, and 54% of its territory is covered by the Natura 2000. It should also be noted that, according to the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests of the Algarve, Loulé is the municipality with the highest number of villages (141) and clusters in the 4 parishes considered first priority in the area of Forest Fire Defence: Alte (33), Ameixial (16), Salir (54) and União de Freguesias (38).

The military will be stationed during the surveillance period at the Malhão Primary School, in the parish of Salir, maintaining permanent coordination with the District Command of Relief Operations and the Municipal Civil Protection Service of Loulé.

The military patrols are carried out daily by a 4x4 vehicle with three elements, performing an average of 140 km per day, and take place during the critical period of forest fires, as this is usually when the risk index is highest, in order to reduce the probability of occurrence, thus reinforcing the safety of the populations and discouraging negligent behaviour.

It should be remembered that, in addition to the Portuguese Army, the City Council's Patrol and Surveillance System, the Municipal Forest Intervention Teams of the Municipal Civil Protection Service, the Brigades of Young Volunteers, the Hunters' Associations (registered with the City Council), the Parish Councils, the Republican National Guard, the team of forest sappers of the Association of Forest Producers of the Serra do Caldeirão and the nature guards of the Institute of Nature and Forest Conservation operating in the Ria Formosa area, as well as two watchtowers (Zebro and Malhão), both in the parish of Salir.

This is one of the initiatives carried out annually by the Municipality of Loulé and is part of the preventive philosophy of the REMAS project, of the Interreg Sudoe programme, dedicated to the greenhouse gas emissions risk management in forest fires.