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Coimbra University professor Domingo Xavier Viegas receives International Wildland Fire Safety Award at international summit in Barcelona

The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) from the USA recognised on Tuesday Coimbra University professor Domingo Xavier Viegas’ contribution to wildland firefighter safety and granted him the Wildland Fire Safety Award. Viegas, who is considered one of the most outstanding experts in this field, studied more than 400 wildland fires which had severe consequences for the firefighters involved and has focused on how to identify the causes and improve the safety measures for these professionals. The ceremony closed the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit which took place this past Tuesday in Barcelona and gathered together more than 300 experts and members of the global wildland fire community to discuss best practices in safety and training operations and to explore new approaches.

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01 February 2017 12:53 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit which took place this past Tuesday in Barcelona, praised the work of Coimbra University professor Domingo Xavier Viegas and his contribution to improving wildland fire safety. Thus, the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) from the USA awarded him the Wildland Fire Safety Award. During the course of his career, Viegas has studied more than 400 wildland fires which had severe consequences for the firefighters involved and has focused on how to identify the causes and improve the safety measures for these professionals. Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Jordi Jané, who presided over the summit, emphasised the importance of “sharing experiences” and collaboration on an international scale in order to fight wildland fires. In this vein, Jané announced that 24 firefighters from Barcelona will help fight wildfires in Chile. 


Villegas’ first study on this matter was in 1963, after a wildland fire in Portugal killed more than 20 soldiers. Since then, the Coimbra University professor has analysed hundreds of cases all over the world and has become an international authority in this field.

Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Jordi Jané, who presided over the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit, insisted on the need to collaborate and share resources in order to improve safety when fighting wildland fires. In this vein, he explained that Chile has repeatedly asked the Catalan fire brigade specialised in wildland fires for help. The Catalan firefighters have also helped fighting wildland fires in Greece in 2007 and on the Mediterranean coast of France in 2007, 2010 and 2016, Jané explained.

Catalan Firefighters, internationally praised

The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs also praised the efforts of the firefighter corps in Catalonia, which carried out nearly 64,000 operations in 2016, of which nearly 6,000 were wildland fires. “There is much work to do and to share”, he said. Indeed, the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit praised the work of the Catalan firefighters and the division specialised in fighting wildland fires was the only European institution to receive an award during the summit. In 2015 the Catalan corps were also awarded the International Award of Wildland Safety, in recognition of their contribution to fighting the wildland fire which killed five firefighters in Horta de Sant Joan, in the southeast of Catalonia, in 2009.  

14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit

The Wildland Fire Safety Award, given by the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) from the USA, closed the 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit which took place on Tuesday in Barcelona. Indeed, Catalonia was chosen as the capital of the global fight against wildfires because it is, in fact, one of the European regions most affected by them. With more than 60% of its territory being forest mass, eight million inhabitants and a severe population increase during summer due to the tourist season, Catalonia has also a lot of experience in fighting fires that affect interurban areas or residential estates. These are usually very quick and intense fires that demand a great deal of experience from firefighters and a fast decision-making process in order to be extinguished. In this vein, the summit praised the work of the Catalan firefighters.

The 14th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit gathered together more than 300 experts and members of the global wildland fire community to discuss best practices in safety and training operations and to explore new approaches. Amongst them, leading members of the emergency services of the United States, Israel, Australia, Portugal, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Spain. The event is organised by the Fundació Pau Costa and the International Association of Wildland Fire from the USA, in close collaboration with the Catalan Government and the University of Barcelona.

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  • Coimbra's University Professor, Domingo Xavier Viegas, was granted the Wildland Fire Safety Award, given by the  International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) from the USA (by ACN)

  • Coimbra's University Professor, Domingo Xavier Viegas, was granted the Wildland Fire Safety Award, given by the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) from the USA (by ACN)