Given the weather forecast for the coming days, which point to a significant increase in the risk of forest fire, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development today (12th September) signed the Order determining the Alert Situation Statement for the period. between 00:01 hrs on 13 September and 23:59 on 14 September 2019 for the whole of mainland Portugal.

The Alert Status Statement results from the following factors:

  • The Technical-Operational Communiqué of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) that determines, until September 14, 2019, the issue of the Red Level Special Alert State of the Special Rural Firefighting Device (DECIR) in the districts of Setúbal, Lisbon, Santarém, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real and Bragança;
  • ANEPC’s technical-operational communiqué determining the maintenance of the Orange Level Special Alert Status for the remaining districts of mainland Portugal;
  • The need to adopt preventive and special measures of reaction to the risk of fire.

Exceptional measures under the Alert Situation are:

  • Increased readiness and operational response by GNR and PSP, with reinforcement of means for surveillance, surveillance, behaviour deterrent patrols and general support for protective and distress operations that may be triggered, considering – for this purpose, the interruption of vacation leave and / or suspension of breaks and rest periods is authorized;
  • Increased readiness and mobilization of emergency medical, public health and psychosocial support teams, by the competent health and social security entities, through their respective Guardianships;
  • Permanent mobilization of Forest Sapper teams;
  • Permanent mobilization of the National Corps of Forest Agents (CNAF) and the Nature Watchers that are part of the fire prevention and fighting device, by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, I. P., through their respective Guardianships;
  • Increased readiness of response teams of entities with special duty of cooperation in the areas of communications (fixed and mobile network operators) and energy (transport and distribution);
  • Prohibition of access, circulation and permanence within the forest spaces, previously defined in the Municipal Forest Fire Protection Plans (PMDFCI), as well as in the forest paths, rural paths and other paths through them;
  • Prohibition of burning and burning of operating surplus;
  • Total ban on the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices, regardless of their form of combustion, as well as the suspension of authorizations issued in districts where the Red Level Special Alert Status has been declared by the ANEPC;
  • Public service waiver of Public Administration workers who perform cumulatively the duties of volunteer firefighter, pursuant to the provisions of article 26-A of Decree-Law No. 241/2007, of 21 June, except those who perform public service functions to provide health care in emergency situations, namely prehospital emergency technicians (TEPH) and nurses from INEM – National Institute of Medical Emergency, IP and security forces;
  • Exemption from the service of private sector workers who cumulatively perform the duties of volunteer firefighter, in districts in which the Red Level Special Alert State has been declared by ANEPC, pursuant to article 26 of Decree-Law no. 241/2007, of June 21;
  • Use of available means provided for in the National Plan and District Civil Protection Emergency Plans;
  • Prohibition of carrying out work in forest spaces, except those associated with rural firefighting situations, with the use of blade or metal disc shovels, cutters, shredders and machines with blade or front shovel.

The Order determines to ANEPC the issuance of a Population Warning about the danger of rural fires and also provides the request to the Air Force, through the Ministry of National Defence, the availability of air resources to be operational, if necessary, in the Air Centres to be determined by ANEPC.

The Alert Situation Statement also determines the immediate activation of the territorially competent institutional coordination structures (National Operational Coordination Centre and District Operational Coordination Centres).

Lisbon, September 12, 2019