Interior Minister José Luís Carneiro, Portugal
José Luís Carneiro with PSP chief Magina da Silva

Wildfire risk: Government declares Situation of Alert from Friday

Activities to be limited; firefighting response fully-mobilised

“The next few days are going to be very demanding and worrying” in terms of the risk in Portugal of forest wildfires.

This is the message today from interior minister José Luís Carneiro as temperatures start to soar towards what are expected to reach the low 40ºCs.

As such, a Situation of Alert will be declared from tomorrow  meaning that “actions that could put populations at risk” (like using machinery in the fields, or open spaces) must be limited, and “all conditions created that can guarantee the mobilisation of resources necessary and indispensable for the effort that the coming days will demand”.

The minister underlined the fact that this heatwave is taking place at a time when all vegetation is “very dry”, and levels of humidity in the air are “very low”.

Mr Carneiro was talking at a meeting of Civil Protection’s ‘centre of coordination’ in Carnaxide, Lisbon, to which minister of the environment Duarte Cordeiro, and secretary of State for Civil Protection Patrícia Gaspar were also present.

More than a quarter of mainland Portugal is already in a state of ‘extreme drought’, with almost all the rest (over 67%) in ‘severe drought’. According to recent information from meteorological institute IPMA 3.7% of national territory is better off, classified as in a state of ‘moderate drought’.

Hundreds of firefighters are already battle two major fires in districts of Guarda and Aveiro.

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