These regional targets are included in the action plan of the Regional Commission for Integrated Management of Rural Fires in the North which was approved on Friday in Vila Real and released today by the Northern Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N).

"This plan is a collective effort of the entire region, its institutions and, in particular, the intermunicipal communities, whose contribution is fundamental. It is a positive milestone for the future, which requires clear national commitments in its operationalisation and the provision of adequate means, namely for the exercise of the competences of intermunicipal entities and municipalities," said the president of CCDR-N, António Cunha, quoted in a statement.

Amongst the regional targets defined until 2030 are the reduction of the accumulated burnt area (up to 242,000 hectares), the reduction of the number of fires by 80% on days of high fire risk, the effective management of 700,000 hectares of fuel and an 8% increase in the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the forestry sector, supporting over 3,000 projects of diversification and valorisation of the rural economy and of the forest.

The action plan, now approved and to be submitted to the national commission, is made up of 52 regional projects, 12 of which are classified as key projects, with the aim of "protecting Portugal from serious rural fires". The commission said that "total investment over the next decade is expected to be around two billion euros".

According to data released by CCDR-N, between 2010 and 2019, the North registered more than 110,000 occurrences of rural fires, representing about 65% of the national total. In terms of burnt area, in the same period, the North accounted for 40% of the national total, with more than 559,000 hectares. In the North, according to CCDR-N, forestry represents 61% of all the regional territory and 68% of the total area of common land in Portugal. Adding that this region is also responsible for 32% of the area classified as "environmental excellence" and under "forestry regime" of the whole country.

The action plan for the North region has an application horizon of up to 2030 and aims to be a contribution to the national "Integrated Management System of Rural Fires", approved by the Government in 2020.