February 17, 2021

About Associação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal / Forest Fire Alert Association

Founded following the extensive fires in 2016, the association’s function is to support the firefighters and provide information to the local community living and working in the Algarve and Lower Alentejo regions of Portugal.

Fighting forest fires is hot, dirty and exhausting work with little respite, requiring bravery and dedication on the part of the Bombeiros. During the fire season the fire stations regularly find themselves running short of essentials, such as easily portable food and drink, as well as medical supplies and even dry socks. Our dedicated bunch of volunteers work tirelessly throughout the fire season to ensure that the brave Bombeiros are kept supplied with necessities.

As and when time and funds allow larger purchases are made, such as new uniforms to replace those damaged on duty, PPE during the COVID 19 crisis and even a defibrillator have been bought to benefit the Bombeiros and the communities they serve.

In its role as a source of information, the Alerta Facebook page, staffed by a small army of volunteers provides up to the minute information concerning the current fire situation as well as being a forum for the community to share information and provide support to one another.

Deborah Burton BEM

Debby is the president of Alerta, having had the idea of using the official Civil Protection website to track wildfires in the Algarve and posting them on a Facebook page in a way which was easy for concerned residents to follow. And so Alerta, in its current form, was born. It quickly became a valuable source of reliable, up-to-date information as well as providing a platform for people to air worries and share support.

After the terrible fires of 2016 Debby and her husband Andrew realised that Alerta could help the Bombeiros by providing food, water and other essentials wherever they were fighting to save lives and protect property. All this has been achieved by her indefatigable fundraising throughout the year and her astute organisation of Alerta volunteers.

In 2019 Debby was awarded the British Empire Medal by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her achievements in support of the local and expatriate communities in the Algarve.

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