"We have taken the decision to establish a state of alert for the 21, 22 and 23 August - Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, which will be re-evaluation on Monday evening, with a view to maintain or change the state of alert. All this applies to the mainland," said the governor, after a meeting at the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC), in Carnaxide (Oeiras).

At a press conference, José Luís Carneiro also explained that the state of alert during this period means "special limitations on the use of fire, the use of machinery and the use of agricultural work, as well as access to forest areas", stressing that the use of fire is indicated as the cause in 54 percent of occurrences, to which a further 10 percent from various causes should be added.

The minister noted these are uncertain times when it comes to fighting fires, focusing on the current meteorological and environmental circumstances in Portugal.

"Firstly, the new heat wave that will be felt in the coming days, starting on Sunday, which could reach temperatures above 40 degrees; secondly, winds that could vary between 40 and 60 kilometres per hour, finally, the severe and extreme drought in much of the national territory," he noted.

According to the governor, this "is a demanding period", although he acknowledged that in terms of temperatures "it's not as demanding as the July period". As for the issue of severe and extreme drought and wind, José Luís Carneiro argued that "it requires maintaining the operational capacity that requires the mobilisation of more resources".

"The country managed to safeguard lives and heritage despite these circumstances. Everyone gave their best, from the firefighters who are on the ground fighting in very difficult circumstances, to the local communities, the mayors and the country as a state, which puts at the service of communities the resources that belong to all of us," he pointed out.

"A meeting is scheduled to be chaired by the minister Mariana Vieira da Silva, in which the ministries of Internal Administration, Agriculture, Cohesion, Environment and Social Security will be present to hear what the local authorities have to say so that the response can be structured according to the most emerging needs, and then medium and long-term needs, which must also have a prepared response from the government," he concluded.