Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza

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Prevention and Combat of Forest Fires Volunteers in Conservation Units/Prevenção e Combate Voluntários a Incêndios Florestais em Unidades de Conservação

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Posted by Laura Nascimento on 24-11-2016 - Last updated on 24-11-2016

The Conservation Units (UC) of the municipality of Belo Horizonte and its surroundings play very important roles in their regions because they harbor endemic ecosystems and the existing springs in their interior. The areas are located in the Mata Atlântica and Cerrado biomes and represent important sources of water abstraction for the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte and surroundings, with significant fragments of native species and recovery. They also shelter in their extensions several endangered species of the fauna, such as the Onça Parda, the Jaguatirica, Lobo-guará, the Gato-do-mato, the Macuco, the Deer, the Otter, the Tamanduá Bandeira and several others, as well as species Of flora such as orchids, bromeliads, candeias, jacarandás, cedros, jequitibás, arnicas and canelas-de-ema, besides characterizing an ecotone by the transition between the two phytophysiognomies (cerrado and Mata Atlânticat). However, in spite of their environmental relevance, these conservation units, because they are located near the urban regions, present, consequently, environmental problems characteristic of the accelerated rhythm of urban growth and regional development, like forest fires.     The creation of the ONG Brigada1 is motivated by the high numbers of occurrences of forest fires that annually devastate the remnants of native forests and release millions of tons of toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as well as the governmental difficulties of providing conservation units With material and human resources for the development of actions to prevent and combat these fires. These factors undermine the environmental and social scenario. In this case, fires contribute to the worsening of respiratory diseases, destruction of material and cultural assets, contribute to the death of a large part of the native biodiversity, providing for the establishment of exotic species, besides erosion, silting of water sources for water supply Population and dryness of water bodies.       Thus, sensitized with these real socio-environmental threats, some volunteers interested in contributing to the reduction of the environmental impacts generated by the forest fires established in 2001 the Brigade 1 that in 2003 was institutionalized as Non-Governmental Organization. Today, besides the headquarters in Greater Belo Horizonte, ONG Brigada1 counts on nuclei in Ouro Preto, São João del Rei, Mateus Leme, Araxá, Sacramento and Montes Claros.    The ONG Brigada1 is the only civil organization with instructors accredited by the IEF / SEMAD - State Forest Institute and State Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development of the State of Minas Gerais. It trains new volunteers every year in courses that run from May to July, months before the critical period for forest fires.       In the event of a forest fire, the heads of the B1 are activated. They receive the information and pass it on to the volunteers through a whatsapp group, which has rigid usage rules. Thus, brigadistas who have the readiness to fight identify themselves to articulate and organize rides for displacement. During the fighting, there is always a team leader who will be responsible for guiding and coordinating the brigade. B1 develops a Technical Cooperation Agreement with SEMAD for the PESRM - Serra do Rola Moça State Park and Serra do Lenheiro Municipal Park. This Cooperation Term contemplates shifts at PESRM on weekends where B1 always has a minimum of four volunteers per day on Saturdays and Sundays. The shift team is always made up of experienced and novice volunteers for the exchange and construction of knowledge and experience, with a focus on the safety of combatants.    There is also the participation of the Brigade1 in diverse councils of Conservation Units to contribute in the plans of action and plans of its managements regarding the prevention and combat to the forest fires.   As a form of continuous improvement, the ONG promotes the Annual Meeting of Coordinators (EAC), with the objective of bringing together not only the leadership of B1 (Board and Core Coordinators), but all available volunteers to list the positives and negatives Of the works and also to plan the activities, to raise the institutional needs and to schedule the courses of formation and training of the volunteers.   Improvement, recycling and the search for new knowledge are constantly encouraged and added to make the volunteers more and more qualified and qualified to the leisure of the profession, as well as to the development of administrative activities necessary for the maintenance of the ONG. Parallel to the various activities developed, members of Brigade1 participate in educational blitz for guidance of pedestrians in nearby areas and access to UC's, alerting to the various factors related to the problem of forest fires.     However, like any volunteer service, we need to find ways to keep our work and for this we carry out and develop training for companies and projects that allow the acquisition of personal protective equipment, materials and tools for fighting.       Brigade 1 always searches for novelties that expand traditional ways of combating forest fires; One of these began in 2013 through testing the use of the leaf blower in combat. Today, three years later, B1 has developed videos and training that are passed on not only to the ONG Brigada1, but to employees of the IEF Conservation Units, ICMBio and to companies in the second sector.

Argue why this is sustainable.

     The occurrence of large forest fires in Conservation Units in the state of Minas Gerais has become increasingly recurrent and each year has put endangered species endangered and threatened with extinction, with the consequence of the release of millions of tons of gases Toxic substances in the atmosphere, including those responsible for the increase of the greenhouse effect, with the consequent worsening of global warming.
       According to the last bulletin of the Previncéndio Prediction Task Force of the State Department of the Environment (Semad), only in the months of January to August 2016, 228 forest fires were registered in conservation units. Although forest fires continually devastate the Minas Gerais state conservation unit, the government's difficulties in maintaining and expanding human, material and financial resources for actions to prevent and combat forest fires are still great limitations for the organization to better develop its work .
       In this sense, in view of the environmental vulnerability of ecosystems and in order to protect the natural resources of this region, this proposal aims to support public institutions in the protection and monitoring of forest fires in conservation units, aiming at reducing and reducing the severity As well as to ensure and promote the environmental sustainability of ecosystem conservation.
What are the specific aspects of sustainability?

The aspects of sustainability in this proposal are in the works that always count on people renewal, with resources coming from associates' annuities and sales of courses for companies, thus guaranteeing the minimum sustainability of the actions, which still need a better structure of transportation, communication and Acquisition of equipment for the development of fighting, and printing of graphic material for the distribution of preventive booklets and booklets with good environmental practices.