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Portugal Fires & What you Must do.

The government have issues this statement.


If you live in a rural area it is mandatory to clean your land to reduce the risk of forest fires. This MUST be completed by 15th March 2018.

For most properties it means that the area to be cleaned must be 50 metres from exterior masonry of the building.

Failure to do so can mean that you will be fined, which have for this year has been doubled.

Full details of the law concerning the land cleaning requirements, together with the fines for non-compliance can be downloaded in English here.



Awareness campaigns are now underway all over Portugal to warn property owners in rural areas that they have until March 15 to clear their land. Failure to do so will result in hefty fines up to €10,000 and local councils taking over and clearing the land on the owners’ behalf. It’s the state’s latest move to prevent another national calamity like last year’s wildfires that claimed over 100 lives and resulted in over 500,000 hectares of destroyed land.

Property owners have been scrambling for more information since the announcement was made, some even contacting the Resident about what they need to do to abide by the new law (n.º 114/2017, of December 29).

The lack of clarity seems to boil down to the government’s focus on the fact that owners “must clear their land” and not on how they should go about doing so.

The national association of municipalities (ANMP) has also criticised the new rules, stressing that “decades of works that were never carried out should not now be placed on councils’ shoulders”.

But last week the Secretary of State for Civil Protection guaranteed that the March 15 deadline will be enforced without exceptions, and those who do not comply “won’t be forgiven”.

“The severity of (last year’s) fires and their consequences have forced us into this, and all owners have to mobilise to execute this task,” José Artur Neves told reporters in Macedo de Cavaleiros, Bragança.

Come March 16, authorities will be on the ground making sure that property owners have complied with the new rules.

“If they don’t, authorities, which are already on the ground warning people, will naturally fine them,” the secretary of state warned.

Neves also said that he has received feedback that many land clearing initiatives are already being carried out throughout the country, adding that many boroughs are keeping him up-to-date on the progress.

The new law, which came into force last year, also leaves councils at risk of penalties if they fail to have a municipal plan against forest fires (PMDFCI) ready by March 31. Punishment will involve losing 20% of funding from the Fundo de Equilíbrio Financeiro (FEF).

In a nutshell and with the information we were able to gather, landowners are obliged to clear land in a 50m radius around the exterior walls of the property’s home.

Tree crowns (in other words, the mass of foliage and branches growing outward from the trunk) should be at a minimum distance of four metres from one another.

Trees should also be pruned so that there is only foliage four metres up from the ground – those that are less than eight metres tall only need to be pruned at the bottom half.

Vegetation must be at a distance of at least five metres from the building. Tree crowns should also ideally not hang over the house.

These are described as the “obligatory measures”, though a multilingual pamphlet being distributed among rural property owners in Portimão also recommends that the house be surrounded by a one to two-metre radius of non-flammable pavement.

It is also recommended that owners avoid having vegetation that is flammable in a 10-metre radius of the edifice, as well as vegetation that produces oily substances or dry woody residue.

The 50-metre safety radius should also be free of firewood, flammable substances and agricultural remains; weeds, leaves, branches and moss should be removed from roofs and the access route to the property should be completely passable and allow for enough room to make a U-turn.

In case of further doubts about what to do, property owners can and should contact their local civil protection services.

In the Algarve, Silves has been one of the most active boroughs in terms of wildfire prevention. Not only has it been informing property owners of the new rules, but it has also carried out some of its own land clearing initiatives.

“We have a very vast borough, the second largest in the Algarve and the sixth in Portugal, which poses great challenges when it comes to preventing fires,” Silves mayor Rosa Palma has said.

The initiative has seen a safety perimeter created around part of Silves in the areas of Enxerim, Monte Branco, Caniné and Caixa de Água in an attempt to prevent flames from encroaching on the town. A similar initiative is also underway in Odelouca.

It was not that long ago that Silves saw wildfires coming way too close to the town, and hopes are that these preventive actions will help stop potential fires from spreading uncontrollably.

Local civil protection authorities are also on the ground warning property owners about the March 15 deadline. Portimão, Loulé and Albufeira are other municipalities in the Algarve that are already carrying out informative campaigns.

“Prevention measures should be adopted by all citizens when faced with the threat of forest fires,” Loulé council has said in a statement.

If you own land in rural areas and still are unsure how the new rules apply to your property, then contact your local civil protection authority.

Algarve Civil Protection contacts

Alcoutim - 962 864 914
Castro Marim - 281 510 740
Vila Real de S.to António - 281 530 190
Tavira - 281 322 122
São Brás de Alportel - 289 840 000/05
Olhão - 289 710 000
Faro - 289 888 000
Loulé - 289 400 827
Albufeira - 289 599 503
Silves - 282 440 800
Lagoa - 282 352 888
Portimão - 808 282 112
Monchique - 282 910 210/80
Lagos - 282 768 008
Aljezur - 282 990 014
Vila do Bispo - 282 630 600

By Michael Bruxo michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

Government Advice on Land Clearing After Fires in Portugal.

Property Buying Guide. everything you need to know about buying a house, property in Portugal

Importing a car into Portugal. Legal stuff you need to know

Driving in Portugal. More legal stuff you need to know

Tax Laws. Find out what the tax laws in Portugal mean for you.

Brexit. What will it mean for you.

Forest Fires & land clearing. Very important please read

Portuguese Heath Care system. Looking after your health while in                                                    Portugal

Very important please read.

Following the devastating and life destroying fires Portugal suffered in summer 2017 it is no surprise that the government have taken some sort of action to safeguard life and property for the future.

With a very dry winter even though there were a few weeks of rain it look like 2018 will be another very dry year.

Please read  the following if you are an home owner in Portugal.

This is law and if not followed there undoubtedly will be consequences.

This is not to scare you but to inform you of what must be done by you to make sure you are abiding by the new laws.

These new laws are to protect life and property not just yours but your neighbours.