Forest owners want extended clearing of forests due to state of emergency

The National Federation of Forest Owners Associations (FNAPF) defends the extension of the land clearance period until May 31, considering the “most adverse” weather conditions and the general confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic.

“I think the Government will, once again, have the good sense to extend the deadline,” said FNAPF President Luís Damas, speaking out against the establishment period, until March 15, for the owners to ensure the management bands of fuel, including around houses.

The representative of the forest owners said that the term “is out of adjustment, because in nature there are no dates, there are cycles, some years, winter and spring are prolonged, they are drier or more humid, and that cannot have a fixed date” .

“We are tired of saying that this cannot be due to dates, every year you have to look at what it rained. For example, this year is a year that rained a lot, there will be a lot of water available, when the heat comes, the plants will shoot its growth “, declared the president of the FNAPF.

For this reason, he continued, if the owners start to clear the land already, there are places where they will have to cut the bush and the herbaceous plants “three and four times” to comply with the obligation of the fuel management bands.

On the other hand, as this year the weather conditions are “more adverse”, there are areas where it is not possible to intervene now, because “they are in excess of humidity and are sweating”, which prevents people and machines from moving, he added.

Another factor that justifies the extension of the land cleaning period, according to the forest owners, is the general confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic, which “will have implications”, said Luís Damas.

Ministry has not yet responded

In 2020, the March 15 deadline was extended twice by the Government, even after the end of the initial date. First, on April 2 to April 30, and then on May 2, to May 31, under the exceptional and temporary measures relating to the pandemic of the covid-19 disease.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs was asked about the possibility of an extension of the deadline for clearing forest land, since the general confinement decreed due to the covid-19 pandemic will continue during the month of March, but has not yet obtained answer.

In the perspective of FNAPF, the extension of the land cleaning period must be announced by the Government before the end of the established date and “the sooner the better”, at the latest until the end of February, so that the owners can plan the works of fuel management, “because there is neither the means nor the material to do it all in a very short period of time”.

Luís Damas indicated that the extension of the deadline, similarly to what happened in 2020, should be until May 31, to give “some space” for carrying out the work, maintaining that before that date the interventions “should have been the majority made “.

On the cleaning of the forest in 2020, the representative of the owners devalued the impact of the general confinement, adding that the main problem was, and remains, the lack of available labor to work, verifying that “some companies are already to hire people from other countries “.

The FNAPF president also highlighted the owners’ adherence to the implementation of fuel management bands against fires, with the awareness that “they are essential for the protection of people and property”.

The cleaning of forest land, in a strip of 50 meters around houses and other buildings and in a strip of 100 meters around population centers, campsites and industrial areas, “should take place until March 15th”, according to State Budget Law for 2021.

In view of the non-compliance by the landowners with the deadline for cleaning land, the city councils must ensure, until May 31, that all fuel management works are carried out, “by means of a communication and, in the absence of a response within five days, by notice to be posted at the work site “.

As has been the case since 2018, this year the fines were “increased twice more”, from 280 to 10,000 euros, in the case of natural persons, and from 3000 to 120,000 euros, in the case of legal persons.

Source: Expresso by

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