THE safety of pilots and the forest fires are the main focus of attention of Civil Protection who is on duty at the Rally de Portugal, said the Director of Planning of the Device, Commander Carlos Alves.
In statements to the Lusa agency, the Operational Commander for Relief Operations (CODIS) of the district of Porto 410 men from four districts highlighted for this operation "have as main mission the safety of the participants".
But on a weekend of high risk of fire, this is "another major concern."
"On a weekend of these, the greatest potential for risk is fires," Carlos Alves said.
"In 2015, a fire in a forest area of Ponte de Lima even forced the cancellation of one of the sections of the race," recalled Porto's CODIS, who in this seventh round of the World Championship coordinates the device the National Authority of Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).
The command post is installed in the fairground of Exponor, rally neuralgic center, on the first floor of the building, in a set of rooms created for this purpose. The first houses the direction of proof and timing. Next, the command of the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) is installed, before the room where the security command post is installed.
With some specials designed close to population clusters, it is necessary to "safeguard, also, the support to these populations", explains Carlos Alves.
"For this reason, we have created a smaller device for each situation where a village is isolated along the route, with health-related and fire-fighting aid," he says.
In this year's event, there are two such situations. One in Arganil and the other in the Marão mountain range. "Until today, we never had to trigger the media," he adds.
Another of the points that requires more attention from Civil Protection elements (mainly firefighters) are the fuel refueling sites for competitors. "They also ask us to collaborate in the fuel collection operations for analysis, at the end of each day of the test, and even in the technical checks," reveals CODIS Porto.
This Friday, the day had some startles, as a beginning of fire of the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X of the Portuguese Jose Merceano, still in the morning. "It was a situation that was promptly resolved," said Carlos Alves.
This Friday, ANEPC reinforced the warning to the population for the danger of forest fires due to the high temperatures, noting that it is not advisable to use fireplaces in forest areas.
"Most of the ignitions in the Oporto district begin on weekends, between 14 and 20 hours," said Carlos Alves, asking for "civism" to the fans of the rally.
"The success of the test depends on the behavior of the citizens," he said.
ANEPC also provides support to the INEM through the transfer of nine 4 × 4 ambulances to stay in the sections.
"During the weekend, we should reach the 450 operational units, four districts (Porto, Coimbra, Braga and Vila Real) and about 140 vehicles," he said.
The Rally de Portugal will go on Saturday to the Marão mountain range, with passage through Vieira do Minho, Cabeceiras de Basto and Amarante, with 160 kilometers timed out of a total of 622.86 kilometers forecast.