The reinforcement of the “patrol and ground surveillance effort throughout the national territory, in coordination with other entities, in order to prevent the occurrence of ignitions”, was announced today by the GNR in a statement. The measure is justified by the aggravation of the risk of occurrence of rural fires foreseen for the next few days and the joint declaration of the alert situation for 14 districts: Beja, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisbon, Portalegre , Santarém, Setúbal, Vila Real and Viseu.

Taking into account the weather forecast for the coming days, the alert situation and exceptional measures came into force at 12pm and will continue until 23:59 on Monday, 16 August. During this period, in the 14 districts, access, circulation and permanence inside the forest spaces previously defined in the Municipal Fire Defence Plans, as well as in forest paths, rural paths and other roads that cross them, is prohibited.

It is also prohibited to carry out fires or carry out work in forest areas using any type of machinery such as blade or metal disc mowers, bush cutters, shredders and machines with blades or front shovel. The measures also include the total ban on the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic artefacts, as well as the suspension of permits that have been issued in the districts where the Orange Level Special Alert State has been declared by the National Emergency and Protection Authority Civil (ANEPC).

In the statement, the GNR clarifies that the work associated with feeding and watering animals, phytosanitary treatment or fertilization, watering, pruning, harvesting and transport of agricultural crops are outside the ban, provided that they are essential and unavoidable and develop in irrigated areas or areas devoid of forests, woods or flammable materials, and from which there is no danger of ignition. The extraction of cork by manual methods and the extraction (cresting) of honey are also included in the exceptions, provided they are carried out without recourse to fumigation methods obtained by means of incandescent material or a temperature generator.

Civil construction works are also allowed, “provided that they cannot be postponed and that the appropriate rural fire risk mitigation measures are adopted”, is mentioned in the communiqué. In view of the risk of fire occurrence, the GNR reinforces the advice that populations should avoid smoking or burning, fumigating or disinfecting apiaries, as well as using tractors, machinery and heavy transport vehicles that have fire extinguishers, sparks retention system or sparks and flame arresters in exhaust pipes or chimneys. In case of fire, call 112 immediately, reminds the GNR, stressing that whoever checks the presence of people with risky behaviour must immediately report it to the authorities.