Fire at Sintra- Cascais National Park

The Fire that broke out on 6th October in the Sintra-Cascais National Park burned around 600 hectares of land mainly located in the municipality of Cascais.

Twenty one persons were slightly injured in the fires. About three hundred people were evacuated at night from the Guincho campsite, as well as 47 inhabitants of several villages in the region.

According to a report in the Publico the Government has been alerted at least since last May to the high risk of fire in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: a report prepared by experts from the European Commission who visited Portugal to this effect accounts for the extreme vulnerability of this protected area.

According to Publico, the report indicated that “The structural risk index is very high and extreme.” The report, signed by three experts who came from Spain and worked with national experts, including the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).

“The authors of the study consider it vital that the resident population and visitors to Sintra be alerted to the risk they are facing, because apparently the current prevention measures are not adequate to the dangerous situation. They suggest the creation of tourist safety areas and self-protection plans for construction and urbanization, but also the need to eliminate the large amount of dead fuel (vegetation) in most forest areas”.

The celebration of rituals or macumbas is also a matter of concern to the experts, as they involve the use of candles at the intersections of forest paths. As well as the lack of resources of the ICNF to manage the lands in its custody.

In view of these findings, the head of the rural fire mission structure recommended to the Secretary of State for Forests early in May various measures, such as the creation of escape routes and support for people who need to burn. “The possibility of large forest fires is already evident in 2018,” he anticipated.

 


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