Fewer fires in Portugal so far this year

in News · 07-08-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Fewer fires in Portugal so far this year

More than 24,000 hectares of fires were registered during the first seven months of the year in Portugal, a lower number than the annual average over the last decade, according to the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).

According to the third provisional report of rural fires of the ICNF, which covers the period between 1 January and 31 July, the national database registered a total of 5,294 rural fires, which destroyed a total of 24,680 hectares (ha).

Comparing the values of the first seven months of this year with the history of the previous 10 years, the report indicates that there were 43 percent less rural fires and 34 percent less burnt areas compared to the annual average of the same period.

Until 31 July, 2020 has registered “the lowest value in number of fires and the sixth lowest value of burnt area, since 2010”, says the document.

The ICNF report indicates that fires with a burnt area of less than one hectare this year are the most frequent (87 percent of total rural fires).
With regard to larger fires, the data show the occurrence of five rural fires with a burnt area greater than or equal to 1,000 hectares: Oleiros (Castelo Branco), Chaves (Vila Real), Castro Verde (Beja), Aljezur (Faro) and Covilhã (Castelo Branco).

The largest fire recorded this year was the one that broke out in Oleiros on 25 July, which destroyed 5,570 ha, followed by the one in Vila Real on 30 July, which the ICNF says has destroyed 2,560 hectares.

As a comparison, the report indicates that, in the last decade, in the same period, 2017 was the year that registered the most fires with a burnt area equal to or greater than 1,000 ha (17).

In the first seven months of the year, Portugal reported 23 major rural fires (burnt area equal to or greater than 100 ha), which destroyed 19,831 hectares, which is equivalent to 80 percent of the total burnt area.

As for the number of fires, the district that recorded the most fires was Porto (1,474), followed by Braga (462) and Aveiro (384). In either case, the fires are mostly small (do not exceed one hectare of burnt area).

“In the specific case of the district of Porto, the percentage of fires with less than one hectare of burnt area is 91 percent”, says the report.

The document also adds that the municipalities with the highest number of fires are located “all north of the Tagus” and that are characterised by “high population density, presence of large urban areas or traditional use of fire in agroforestry management”.



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