On April 28th, the United States and Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the prevention and mitigation of forest fires – a major milestone in U.S.- Portugal collaboration on wildfire management. The MOU was signed by the Ambassador of the US Randi Charrno Levine and by the President of AGIF, Tiago Oliveira.
Following similar highly successful agreements between the United States and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, this MOU will help prevent and combat the devastating wildfires that affect both the United States and Portugal every year. It will enable faster sharing of resources to fight forest fires, ranging from joint firefighting training, fire prevention and risk reduction research, and post-fire soil and water restoration.
The United States is already helping the Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management (AGIF) to develop a command and control operations training strategy focused on forest fires. In October 2022, U.S. Forest Service experts from a “Burned Area Emergency Response Team” spent two weeks in the Serra da Estrela with officials from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) to rehabilitate over 303,000 square kilometers of fire-damaged land and restore drinking water sources for 2.5 million people in Portugal.
Under this MOU, other entities from the United States and Portugal that are involved in forest fires will be able to cooperate directly, sharing best practices and the latest technical and scientific knowledge. Ultimately, the two countries hope to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation on scientific and humanitarian affairs, and their mutual commitment to combating forest fires as well as saving lives and livelihoods.