The National Republican Guard (GNR) today begins the inspection of rural land following the end of the cleaning period, which was extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, providing for fines between 280 and 120,000 euros.

“So far, 23,852 non-compliant situations have been identified, already communicated to the respective municipalities, with a greater incidence in Leiria, Castelo Branco, Viseu, Coimbra, Braga, Santarém, Vila Real, Viana do Castelo and Aveiro”, said the GNR, in response to the Lusa agency, within the scope of the deadline for cleaning forest land.

With the beginning of the inspection of the cleaning of rural lands, “the priority of GNR’s activities will be in the 1,114 priority parishes” due to the high risk of fire and the approximately 24,000 non-compliances identified risk administrative proceedings, punishable by fines of 280 to 10,000 euros, in the case of a natural person, and from 1,600 to 120,000 euros, in the case of legal persons.

The deadline for carrying out land cleaning operations, which ended on 15 March, but was extended, by decision of the Government, first to 30 April and then to 31 May, following exceptional and temporary measures concerning the pandemic of covid-19 disease.

On April 16, after the first extension of the deadline for cleaning land until April 30, the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, said that the model for preventing and fighting forest fires could undergo “new adjustments”.

Operation Floresta Secura 2020 started, as in previous years, “with a strong awareness campaign”, in which 3,572 awareness actions were carried out, which reached 55,044 people ”.

According to the National Association of Forestry, Agricultural and Environment Companies (ANEFA), regardless of the extension of the period for cleaning forest land, this year there was less demand from the owners for these works, fearing, therefore, “great catastrophes ”.

“If the factors that were observed in 2017, with regard to climate change, of all these peaks that arise from heat and winds are combined, we will face major catastrophes this year, I have no doubt of that”, said the president of ANEFA, Pedro Serra Ramos, in statements to the Lusa agency, considering that the cleaning of rural land is a “fundamental problem”, which goes beyond the question of the deadline.

In addition to the approximately 24,000 situations of non-compliance with the cleaning of forest land, GNR records “12 detainees and 68 identified for the practice of the crime of forest fire, with 370 cases for administrative offences being prepared, of which one for lack of recovery of burnt areas, 296 in burning and 73 in burning, due to unauthorized performance or negligence in their execution, revealed the GNR.

In view of the non-compliance by the owners with the deadline for cleaning land, the city councils have to guarantee, until June 30 – a deadline that was until May 31, but it was also extended -, the execution of all the fuel management works.

In case of non-compliance by the municipalities, “the following month, 20% of the twelfth of the current transfers from the Financial Equilibrium Fund (FEF) are retained”, according to the Exceptional Regime for Secondary Fuel Management Bands. Source Lusa.