The fires are reactivated in Portugal, with almost all municipalities at extreme risk | International
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Portugal has been at exceptional risk of fire since Tuesday. 96% of the municipalities (not counting the islands) are in a “very high” or “maximum” danger situation, according to the forecast of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA). This map remains, with small oscillations, until next Saturday.
The truce that the fire gave on Monday, which made it possible to contain 70% of the active claims the previous day, has lasted just 24 hours. The rise in temperatures has reactivated one of the most serious, which began on Thursday in Ourém, in the center of the country, and was considered controlled on Monday. The city council of nearby Leiria has asked the residents of the nearby areas to leave their homes and settle in the sports facilities converted into reception points. In addition, traffic has been cut on the A-1 highway in the section between Leiria and Pombal and on IC2 and IC8, due to the serious situation in the Leiria region, where five fires are active.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, the mayor of Leiria, Luís Albuquerque, explained that so far there had been no damage to homes and that the flames have burned areas of pine trees, eucalyptus and bushes. In the Ourém fire, 44 people were injured, 37 civil protection agents and seven residents of the area. “This is an extreme situation, never experienced in the country. The use of fire has to be zero-tolerance,” André Macedo Fernandes, commander of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, stressed in an appearance before the press. More than 50% of fires in Portugal are caused by negligence, according to Civil Protection.
The seriousness of the situation is also altering Portugal’s music and leisure calendar, which had been scheduled this summer as the recovery of normality after two consecutive years of paralysis due to the pandemic. The Super Bock Super Rock Festival, which was to take place on a rural farm in Meco, in Setúbal, from Thursday to Saturday this week, has been moved to the Parque das Nações in Lisbon. The promoter, which anticipated an attendance of between 30,000 and 40,000 people, has made the decision after Civil Protection advised against its celebration. It has also been recommended to rearrange the camping area of the Faro International Motorcycle Concentration to move it away from the wooded area and install it in an urbanized area without fire risk. The organizers estimate that there will be about 25,000 participants.
The Prime Minister, António Costa, acknowledged “the enormous upheaval” that rescheduling cultural and leisure activities means, but stressed that “the safety of people is above all else” and that events must be “adjusted, transferred or rescheduled” . “It is evident that if thousands of people go to a forest area, the risk of that forest area increases significantly,” said Costa, after meeting with the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority. Costa also ruled out that the Government has to consider compensating for the alterations caused to the organizers and warned that the alterations that the events will suffer is “the least of the problems that the country will have to face in the coming days.”
The Government has decreed a state of “contingency” until next Friday, which allows a greater mobilization of resources to combat disasters and establishes restrictions on the population to avoid practices that contribute to causing fires, although the weather forecast indicates that this situation will may extend more days given the persistence of the heat wave. Costa again called for individual “responsibility” to avoid dangerous situations and assured that the entire Civil Protection operation is “fully mobilized.”
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