Permanent monitoring, early detection, the ability to predict the behaviour and evolution of fires, and the effectiveness of the means of combat, with a success rate in the order of 98% have been the determining factors in the execution of the Special Fire Fighting Device (program).
According to provisional data provided by the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), between January 1 and August 31, 2018, a total of 8955 rural fires were recorded, resulting in 36,152 hectares of burned area.
Comparing the figures for 2018 with the average of the last 10 years, there is a reduction of 42% in the number of ignitions and less 60% of burned area.
Until August 31, this year is the 2nd lowest in number of occurrences and the 3rd lowest amount of burned area of the last decade.
During the month of August there were 2562 rural fires, which corresponds to a reduction of 50% compared to the average of the last 10 years. The total burned area was 30,562 hectares, which compares with the average of 52,401 hectares in the last 10 years.
With regard to larger fires, up until the end of August, Monchique is the only one with an area burned of more than 1,000 hectares. Provisional data from the ICNF indicate that the fire that started at the beginning of the month in that municipality consumed 26,763 hectares, between agricultural areas, stands and bushes.
About 65,472 operational and 16,890 land resources (vehicles) were used to combat the rural fires that occurred during this period, and 1,428 operations were registered requiring air resources, of which 1,183 were in Initial Attack.
The fire risk is constantly assessed and, given the daily updating and analysis of available data, the National Civil Protection Authority continues to adjust the level of operational readiness and response through the necessary pre-positioning and reinforcement of resources for surveillance operations, surveillance, deterrent patrols and combat missions.
According to data provided by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), the month of August 2018 was the second hottest of the last 15 years, shortly after 2003. The average value of the maximum air temperature (32.41 degrees Celsius) was the highest since 1931.
In light of these atmospheric conditions and with a view to assessing the fire risk, during this month the ANPC determined a total of 14 days of Special Red Alert Status and 10 days of Special Orange Alert Status, within the scope of the Integrated Protection Operations System and Socorro (SIOPS) for most of the continental territory.