With a number of Algarve boroughs already under fire alerts due to lack of rain through the winter, the GNR has revealed that over 2,650 prosecutions were taken out last year against landowners who flouted new legislation to combat the perennial risk of forest fires.
In areas like Guarda and Viseu, hundreds of property owners failed to clear their land. Viseu was the worst, with 446 prosecutions taken out by GNR agents.
Fines ranged from €140 to €800, and Viseu fire chief José Machado says he is sure that this year landowners will act – rather than risk being fined again.
The GNR’s way of operating is to visit properties through the winter, warning them of the need to clear scrub and other inflammable materials in time for the summer.
Now agents are back on the ground to ensure the work has been done.
Fase Bravo – the name given for the riskiest time of year for fires – begins on May 15, with the “most critical months” being between July 1 and September 30.
This year, over 9,700 firefighters will be drafted in during the peak fire season, backed by 2,043 vehicles and 47 firefighting planes, writes Correio da Manhã.
Meantime, in the Algarve, Monchique is described as being on maximum alert, while the boroughs of Portimão, Loulé and Vila do Bispo are following closely behind.