Counting the cost of fires in Portugal

in News · 02-10-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The most critical period of the forest fire season ended on 30 September with a total of 65,000 hectares of burnt area recorded as well as the deaths of five firefighters and one firefighting pilot.

Over the last three months, the fire-fighting forces have been at their maximum capacity with

11,825 operational teams, 2,746 further teams, 2,654 vehicles and 60 airborne resources on hand to meet the demands of the ‘reinforced - level IV’.

The high fire season tragically saw the deaths of five firefighters, one from Oliveira de Frades (Viseu district), another from Miranda do Corvo (Coimbra), another from Leiria, a further firefighter died at Proença-a-Nova (Castelo Branco) and also one from Cuba (Beja) during the combat operations.

During the fight against a fire in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês a pilot also died after his Canadair plane crashed.

Eduardo Cabrita, minister of the interior, asked the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANPEC) to open an enquiry into the circumstances of the deaths, but no conclusions have yet been drawn.

The risk of fire was high this year, which led the government to issue a special warning in July, August and September for the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR).

Although the final report with current data is still not available, provisional figures published on the website of the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) show that there were 8,980 forest fires this year that caused some 65,000 hectares of burnt area.

Compared with the report of 30 September 2019, there were 1,379 fewer occurrences of rural fires this year, but the burnt area increased by about 58 percent.

After the most critical season ends, the means of combat will be reduced on 1 October according to the National Operational Directive (DON), which establishes the DECIR.

The National Network of Watch Stations to prevent and detect fires will continue with the 230 watch stations until 15 October.

In the second half of October, the DON foresees a further reduction in fire-fighting resources.



Comments:

Be the first to comment on this article
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.