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Dealing with the past of forest fires

BRIDGE: Laboratory for innovation?
Dealing with the past of forest fires

Dealing with the past of forest fires

Saturday 13th April 2024.



Prologue: We had been vaccinated, twice in fact. When we all came down with Covid-19 at the same time, I had the growing sensation that something had gone very wrong. Either it was the vaccine from the small hospital in Monchique that gave me the shot, or we’d caught it at the EB23 Manuel de Nascimento school in Monchique, where the BRIDGE club met. The auditorium had probably not been disinfected and there we were, trapped: two dozen decision-makers from various associations, companies and institutions, as well as politicians. That was in mid-May 2022 and there were never that many participants again. The meeting back then lasted almost three hours. The incubation period was less than five days. The high temperatures and shivering overtook me like a hurricane, unexpectedly, and with a force that I had never experienced before. BRIDGE? Oh yes, that was a 36-month-long, so-called scientific event organised by a group of scientists and technicians from the University of Lisbon, who had received funding from a foundation to get to the bottom of the problem of forest fires in Monchique. They met at irregular intervals. The aim? To reduce the risk of forest fires. The method was a so-called scientific approach: they wanted to tackle nature with ideas they had adapted from architecture and urban planning. And this baby of science was christened with an English name:


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Uwe Heitkamp (64)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, , Patrícia Lara
Photos: Uwe Heitkamp

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