Fires: Five hundred firefighters deployed until Wednesday in high-risk areas

This year, until April 7, 1810 rural fires were registered across the country, resulting in 6.614 hectares of burned area

Close to five hundred firefighters will be deployed between today and Wednesday to reinforce areas with a higher risk of rural fire, at a time when higher temperatures are being recorded, the Government announced.

In a statement, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), supervised by José Luís Carneiro, says that 96 teams were formed, made up of 480 elements from the fire departments, who will be “in greater readiness in this period, to reinforce the initial attack capacity rural fires”.

“The decision to set up the exceptional device was based on the high temperatures that occur in various parts of the mainland, associated with the drought situation caused by rainfall values ​​well below average”, justifies the guardianship.

Thus, the MAI note also refers, these teams will be “implemented by order of the National Operational Command for Emergency and Civil Protection in the Sub-regional Commands subject to greater pressure from the number of ignitions and the evolution of the meteorological scenario.”

“This exceptional device adds to what was already on the ground, because the country is currently at the level of permanent commitment of the Special Device for Combating Rural Fires”, he adds.

According to figures released by the Government, in the period between January 01st of this year and April 07th, 1810 rural fires were recorded, resulting in 6.614 hectares of burned area, including forest stands (1.575 hectares), bushes (4.965 hectares) and agriculture (74 hectares).

These data, calculated up to April 07th, represent the 6th highest number of fires and the 5th highest number of burned areas since 2013.

On Monday, speaking to journalists after the inauguration of the PSP police station in Matosinhos, Minister José Luís Carneiro warned that 2023 will be “even more difficult” than 2022 in the fight against forest fires, asking people and institutions to get ready.

The minister stressed that the Portuguese State, Civil Protection and local authorities are trying to do their part, but everyone has to contribute because 55% of the fires that broke out in 2022 were due to negligence.

The area burned in the fires of 2022 was more than triple the area burned in 2021, with rural fires having consumed 109.514 hectares by the end of September, the highest figure since 2017, according to data released in October by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).