President Bachelet: “Being prepared for emergencies and forest fires is a priority that cannot be postponed and one that involves us all”
The President received the Strategy for Strengthening Forest Fire Management at La Moneda Palace. This strategy focuses on three areas: strengthening fire-fighting strategy, public-private cooperation for dealing with incidents, and criminal prosecution through institutional coordination.
President Michelle Bachelet this morning received the Strategy for Strengthening Forest Fire Management in the Las Camelias courtyard of La Moneda Palace. The document was prepared by the Risk Management and Emergency Unit Undersecretary of the Interior. It includes measures for preventing and fighting forest fires based on experience gleaned during the fires that occurred in the 2016-2017 season.
This strategy focuses on three areas: the first is strengthening fire-fighting strategy, which involves forest fire prevention and mitigation, and preparing the response.
The second ensures that emergencies are addressed through public-private cooperation, using effective communication channels between the two sectors. It also ensures that prevention infrastructure and emergencies are managed locally by civil entities.
The third area addresses criminal prosecution through inter-institutional coordination, tough penalties and forest intelligence.
“This is not a strategy for tomorrow, but for today. For example, between January and September of this year, the National Forestry Service, CONAF, already held more than 500 forest fire prevention training activities throughout Chile.”
“Being prepared for emergencies and forest fires is a priority that cannot be postponed and one that involves us all: the State, specific institutions, such as CONAF or the fire service, but private individuals are also responsible,” stressed the President.
She continued, “fire prevention is a commitment that is not only expected of large forestry companies, but of every person who owns land. They should keep it in the right condition so it doesn’t become covered in dry grass that puts at risk their family and community. People who cook outdoors and those who enjoy trekking must also be very careful when putting out their fires, and disposing of cigarette butts or glass bottles, as these are very dangerous.”
The CONAF budget for its fire management program was increased by more than 9 billion Chilean pesos between 2014 and 2016, which has enabled it to buy 3 AT aircraft, 7 PUMA command posts, and 8 trucks, among other things, in order to improve its fire-fighting capabilities.
Furthermore, the financial conditions for fire fighters were improved, and the structure of CONAF was strengthened by providing 1,169 brigade chiefs with indefinite employment contracts.
The President concluded “I am certain that this strategy and the commitment of all those involved, will ensure that we are better prepared to cope with fires. We will reduce this risk and improve our fire-fighting skills, so that the images seen in the past are not repeated in the future.”