“So far, 23,852 non-compliant situations have been identified and have already been communicated to the respective municipalities, with a greater incidence in Leiria, Castelo Branco, Viseu, Coimbra, Braga, Santarém, Vila Real, Viana do Castelo and Aveiro”, said the GNR, in response to Lusa agency, within the scope of the deadline for cleaning forest land.
With the beginning of the inspection of the cleaning of forest lands, “the priority of the GNR’s activity will be in the 1,114 priority parishes” due to the high risk of fire and the approximately 24,000 non-compliances identified risk administrative actions, punishable by fines of €280 to €120,000.
At stake is the deadline for carrying out land clearing operations, which ended on 15 March, but was extended, by Government decision, first to 30 April and then to 31 May, following exceptional and temporary measures concerning the pandemic of Covid-19 disease.
On 16 April, after the first extension of the deadline for clearing land until 30 April, the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, said that the model for preventing and fighting forest fires could undergo “new adjustments”.
Operation Safe Forest 2020 started, as in previous years, “with a strong awareness campaign”, in which 3,572 awareness actions were carried out, which reached 55,044 people”.
According to the National Association of Forestry, Agricultural and Environment Companies (ANEFA), regardless of the extension of the time limit for cleaning forest land, this year there was less demand from the owners for these works, fearing, therefore, “major catastrophes.”
“If we combine the factors that were observed in 2017, with regard to climate change, of all these peaks that arise from heat and winds, we will face major catastrophes this year, I have no doubt of that”, said the president of ANEFA, Pedro Serra Ramos, in statements to the Lusa agency, considering that the cleaning of forest land is a “fundamental problem”, which goes beyond the question of the deadline.