Safe Communities Portugal (SCP), an association dedicated to crime prevention and public safety, has produced a series of forest fire prevention leaflets for tourists.
Based on information provided by the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC), the leaflets are in English, Swedish, French, German, Norwegian and Italian. Some of the embassies representing these countries have uploaded the documents for their nationals.
David Thomas, president of SCP, stated that it was important to create awareness among tourists, especially those from cooler northern European countries, to the laws in place concerning the prohibition of lighting fires in certain areas especially during the critical fire period when the fire risk is very high.
Consolidating various other pieces of the information on the SCP website plus other information from the Institute of Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) and other official sources, SCP has also drawn up a comprehensive forest fire prevention document in English. This includes both the laws in Portugal concerning the cleaning of land; what can be done if a neighbour refuses to clean their land; the distances that should be cleaned to reduce the risk of fires reaching properties and the laws concerning prohibition by the public of entry to various forest areas and special zones in Portugal during the critical fire period.
David Thomas explained that many people may not be aware of the laws regarding forest areas and other designated zones where there is prohibited access to the public.
A provisional report by the ICNF had revealed that between January 1 and July 31 this year, forest fires had already consumed more than 128,000 hectares. It is the largest area burned in the same period in the last decade.
Altogether, 8,539 occurrences were recorded – 1,925 concerned forest fires and 6,614 other rural fires.
The fire prevention awareness can be downloaded from http://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/forest-fires/