Portugal is in a Contingency Situation: What does it mean?

Deepak Gupta July 11, 2022
Updated 2022/07/11 at 12:38 PM

In view of the weather forecasts for the next few days, which point to an aggravation of the rural fire risk, Portugal has moved to the Contingency State.

The Contingency Situation covers the period between 12:00 am on July 11 and 11:59 pm on July 15.

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Contingency Situation can be extended if justified

This Declaration results from the elevation of the Special Alert State of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC), due to the worsening of IPMA forecasts, with a large part of the mainland at High, Very High and Maximum fire risk levels.

The Contingency Situation Statement, which can be extended if necessary, does not exclude the adoption of other measures that may result from the permanent monitoring of the situation.

Thus, within the scope of the Declaration of the Contingency Situation, provided for in the Civil Protection Basic Law, the following exceptional measures will be implemented:

  • Prohibition of access, circulation and permanence within forest spaces, previously defined in the municipal plans for the defense of the forest against fire, as well as on forest paths, rural paths and other roads that cross them,
  • Prohibition of burning and burning leftovers from exploitation;
  • Prohibition of carrying out work in forest areas using any type of machinery, with the exception of those associated with situations of fighting rural fires;
  • Prohibition of carrying out work in other rural areas using brushcutters with metal blades or discs, brush cutters, shredders and machines with blades or front shovel;
  • Prohibition of the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic artifacts, regardless of their form of combustion, as well as the suspension of authorizations that have been issued.

Portugal is in a Contingency Situation: What does it mean?

The ban does not cover:

  • Work associated with animal feeding and watering, phytosanitary treatment or fertilization, irrigation, pruning, harvesting and transport of agricultural crops, provided that they are of an essential and unavoidable nature and are carried out in irrigated areas or areas devoid of forests, woods or flammable materials, and from which there is no danger of ignition;
  • The extraction of cork by manual methods and the extraction (cresting) of honey, provided that it is carried out without the use of fumigation methods obtained by incandescent material or temperature generator;
  • Civil construction works, provided that they cannot be postponed and that appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of rural fire are adopted.

The Declaration of the Contingency Situation implies:

  • The immediate activation of all emergency and civil protection plans at different territorial levels;
  • The transition to the DECIR's Red Level Special Alert State for all districts, with the mobilization of all available means;
  • Reinforcement of the Fire Departments device with the contracting of up to 100 new Teams, subject to the availability of the Fire Departments;
  • The increase in the level of readiness and operational response on the part of the GNR and the PSP, with reinforcement of means for surveillance, inspection, patrols to deter behavior and general support for protection and rescue operations that may be triggered, considering for this purpose, the interruption of vacation leave and the suspension of days off and rest periods are authorized;
  • The increase in the degree of readiness and mobilization of emergency medical, public health and social support teams, by the competent authorities in the areas of health and social security, through the respective guardianships;
  • The permanent mobilization of the Sapadores Florestais teams;
  • The permanent mobilization of the National Corps of Forest Agents and Nature Watchers who are part of the fire prevention and combat device, by the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation, through the respective guardianship;
  • The increase in the level of readiness of the response teams of entities with a special duty of cooperation in the areas of communications (fixed and mobile network operators) and energy (transport and distribution);
  • The reinforcement, by the GNR, of patrol actions (surveillance) and land and air surveillance through the means of the Armed Forces, focusing on marked places with a very high and maximum risk of fire;
  • The mobilization of support and response means provided for in the emergency plans, namely at the municipal level, of water cisterns to support suppression operations or other equipment;
  • Reinforcement of the service's 112 service capacity;
  • Exemption from service or justification for absences of workers, in the public or private sector, who cumulatively perform the functions of volunteer firefighters, except for those who perform functions in the Armed Forces, security forces and ANEPC, as well as in public service provision of health care in emergency situations, namely pre-hospital emergency technicians and nurses from the National Institute of Medical Emergency.

The Ministry of National Defense, through the Armed Forces, responds to ANEPC requests with military air assets belonging to the national forces system, depending on existing availability. ANEPC will send warnings to the population, by SMS, about the danger of rural fire.

Under the Civil Protection Basic Law, all citizens and private entities are obliged, in the mainland, to provide the civil protection authorities with the personal collaboration that is required of them, respecting the orders, guidelines and requests that are addressed to them, corresponding to the refusal to comply with the crime of disobedience.

Government declares Contingency Situation

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