The Castelo Branco district has been without false rural fire alarms for seven years and, with regard to rekindling, registered only two, announced the Castelo Branco district operational commander, Francisco Peraboa.

“We had [this year] zero percent of re-ignitions, one of the main causes of major fires. We are the only district so far with none registered. For about six years the district has had the lowest number of rekindles, only two”, he said.

The Castelo Branco district operational commander, Francisco Peraboa, was speaking during the 2019 assessment of the DECIR (Special Rural Fire Fighting Device) in the district.

According to the official, the burned area in the district of Castelo Branco was 6,447 hectares, and in 97% of the occurrences, the burned area was not more than one hectare.

However, Francisco Peraboa recalled that this year, in a single fire (Vila de Rei and Sertã) burned about five thousand hectares.

“A single occurrence [fire of Vila de Rei e Sertã] contributed to this number that we have [6,447 hectares]. This was a particularly severe year compared to 2017 and 2018, ”he said.

Given that the estimate for the district of Castelo Branco was 14,000 hectares of burnt area in 2019, the head of the District Relief Operations Command (CDOS) considers the numbers “acceptable”.

“The district of Castelo Branco has over 600,000 hectares and over 330,000 are pure and hard forest,” he said.

Regarding the number of ignitions, a total of 456 were registered, 7% less than the average of the last decade, and the total burned area this year corresponds to 22% less than the average of the last 10 years.

On the ground, a total of 20,000 operational personnel and 5,500 land vehicles together with 300 helicopter deployments, 173 aircraft missions were recorded and 74 track and 330 operational machines were involved.

“The initial attacks we aimed to be muscular, involving 54 operatives and 16 ground forces,” he said.

Regarding the causes that led to the ignition, the commander of the Castelo Branco CDOS said that 44% are attributable to human activity.

“It is necessary to involve the citizen and make him the first Civil Protection agent. It is in the citizen who is the alert and the first intervention. You need to realize the added value you have as a Civil Protection agent. This is the right way to improve the system”, he concluded.