Forest fire prevention and support for fire-fighting
Portugal has proportionally the largest area of woodlands of any European country, with forests occupying 35% of the country. In this context, the management of The Navigator Company's forestry holdings also involves fire prevention and support for fire fighting.
The Company's strategy is focussed on reducing the likelihood of fires occurring, minimizing exposure and mitigating risk. This involves applying risk management tools and tools and processes relating to the control and oversight of operations.
Defending our woodlands against fire is one of the Company's main priorities. This is clearly demonstrated by its involvement in a range of project, which already represent investment in excess of three million euros a year.
The Fire Engine project (Flexible Design of Forest Fire Management Systems) has been running since 2011 as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) programme in Portugal, with the aim of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies and the management, technological and financial resources deployed by Portugal to tackle the problem of forest fires.
Our partners in the project are the MIT , the Higher Institute of Agronomy, the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.
The project's achievements have been shared with the public authorities, organisations of forestry producers and the international scientific community.
Forest Fuel Management
The Company is committed to range of measures to manage forest fuel, such as manual and mechanical clearance of undergrowth, controlled burning and the use of herbicides, over an area of more than 10 000 hectares each year.
Special attention should be drawn to controlled burning. The Company has focussed on demonstrations and training sessions, involving local fire brigades and the local staff of the Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity and the respective municipalities.
Participation in the national fire fighting system
Complementing a strategy focussed primarily on prevention, The Navigator Company also joins forces with the national fire fighting system through the work of Afocelca, an industry organization in which the company is the main shareholder.
Significantly, in each season, more than 85% of fires combated by the teams from the Afocelca’s member companies occur on neighbouring properties. This clearly shows that a well managed forest is much less vulnerable to fire risk.
Movimento Eco - Companies against Fires
The Navigator Company is a member of Movimento ECO - Companies against Fires.
This movement gives businesses the chance to exercise their social responsibility and run an educational campaign for the general public on how to prevent forest fires. The aim is to discourage hazardous practices, such as bonfires and fireworks.
The "Safe Forest" project was launched in 2012 as a partnership between the National Firefighting Academy and The Navigator Company, aiming primarily to reduce the number of fires ignited by bonfires or stubble burning, at the same time as developing a more responsible awareness of forestry resources.
In 2014 this programme involved 15 training sessions by the National Firefighting Academy in three municipalities (5 sessions in each), with a total of 400 participants.