VRSA fire destroys forest

A fire that broke out on June 29 at around 2pm near the Três Pauzinhos beach in Vila Real de Santo António council destroyed a hectare of forest.

A team of 38 firemen fought the fire, which was extinguished at around 3pm.

Vila Real de Santo António Mayor, António Luís Gomes, blamed the Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB) for the lack of management of the area.

“The ICNB does not have a responsible policy for the management of these areas,” he said. “The summer has started badly with two fires already in one week. If there is another major fire, the ICNB will have full responsibility because the forest is abandoned and does not have any cleaning management.”

Luís Gomes says he has been warning the ICNB about the poor state of this centennial forest, which is part of the Rede Natura 2000.

ICNB acknowledged that it lacks the means to do maintenance work on forests, which it says is “extremely costly”.