Fire alert extended in Portugal

in News · 07-08-2020 17:13:00 · 0 Comments

The Government announced on 7 August the extension "until the end of Sunday (9 August)" of the declaration of the situation of alert in all districts of mainland Portugal, in view of the risk of rural fire, calling for compliance with the ban of the use of fire.

“The next 48 hours continue to inspire care, inspire attention, we will keep some districts on red alert and others on orange alert. As a result, the decision was to extend the declaration of a situation of alert to the entire national territory [continental] until the end of Sunday,” said the Secretary of State for Internal Administration.

Patrícia Gaspar was speaking at the end of a meeting of the National Operational Coordination Centre (CCON), which took place at the headquarters of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC), in Carnaxide, Oeiras, Lisbon district.

According to the national operational commander of Emergency and Civil Protection, Duarte Costa, the districts of Vila Real and Bragança will be in a special state of red alert, the most serious of the scale used by Civil Protection.

The districts of Viseu, Guarda and Castelo Branco become orange alert (the second most serious level), and the remaining districts of the continent will be in a special yellow alert state (third level).

Patrícia Gaspar pointed out that this month of July has been the warmest since 1931, with very high meteorological severity levels and which motivated part of the alerts of the last few weeks.

“In the context of these alerts, I also pointed out that we have already recorded more than 1,700 occurrences, most of which are concentrated in the northern districts and, therefore, this is an absolutely worrying situation that we must try to reverse”, she stressed.

6 August was, according to the governor, “one of the most difficult days of this year, with about 140 fires”, of which “five complex fires” stood out, that in total involved more than six thousand operational and about 140 missions with aerial means”.

According to Duarte Costa, to this day there are still regrets the deaths - linked to one occurrence - of four firefighters, “in completely different situations”, and about two dozen operatives with injuries, from the need for assistance to those seriously injured.

What is in the most serious state at this time is a voluntary fireman from Cuba, in the Alentejo, who has nevertheless evolved very satisfactorily and will be free from danger, he said.

"There is no effective standard in relation to what has been going on," he said, noting, however, that operations are complicated, leading to high stress for operational staff, "who try to do more and more and faster".

“I appeal to all the operational personnel that are within the scope of the civil protection system, to all civil protection agents, so that when using what their means of transport are, make their travels to the theatre of operations calmly and respecting the safety limits”, he highlighted.

On 5 August, the Government announced that mainland Portugal would be on alert from 00:00 on 6 August and until 23:59 on 7 August, in view of the forecast of "a significant increase in the risk of rural fire".

In a statement, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) justified the decision with weather forecasts of a significant increase in the risk of rural fire.

In an alert situation, fires and the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited, and access, circulation and permanence in forest spaces "previously defined in the Municipal Plans for the Defence of the Forest Against Fires" are prohibited.

Forestry and rural work with electrical equipment in spaces is also not allowed, such as motor riders, cutters, shredders and machines with blades or front shovels.

However, feeding of animals, pruning, irrigation, extraction of cork and honey and harvests of agricultural crops are allowed, as long as "they are of an essential and urgent nature", in irrigated areas, without flammable materials and outside the forest. Civil construction works are also allowed, "as long as they cannot be postponed and appropriate rural fire risk mitigation measures are adopted".


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