Portugal — Around 74 million was spent by the Civil Protection National Autority (ANPC) on fighting forest fires in the summer of 2012, an increase of 10.3% over the same period in 2011.
Between May 15 and October 30, according to data provided by the ANPC, 74,257,786 was spent in the fight to contain and put out forest fires; this amount relates to the rental of planes to assist the ANPC in its work and paying subsidies to firefighting entities.
In a report, the ANPC mentions that forest firefighting expenses are also incurred by the GNR, the Armed Forces, the Polícia Judiciária (PJ), public air transportation company EMA SA, the Forest and Nature Conservation Institute (ICNF), municipalities and parish councils, as well as commercial entities and private citizens. However, the 74 million relates to ANPC expenses alone.
Preliminary data from the ICNF indicates that in 2012, the area consumed by fire increased by 55%, but the number of individual fires dropped by 5%. The data reveals that between January 1 and October 15, there were 20,969 fires, 1,234 less than the year before when firefighters were called to 22,203 cases of fire.
The forest area burnt this year was approximately 105,016 hectares. In 2011, 67,594 hectares were consumed by fire.
The largest fire in 2012 took place in the Algarve in July, in the regions of S. Brás de Alportel, Tavira and Castro Marim, where 20% of the total area (more than 26,500 hectares) was destroyed by the flames.
Other large fires took place in September, destroying 4,130 hectares of land in Ourém, 2,480 in Seia and a further 2,000 in the Viseu area.
According to the PJ and GNR, 88 people were arrested this year in connection with arson-related incidents resulting in forest fires. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.