In a statement, the police force states that, between 2019 and 2023, the districts where there was a “highest number of non-compliances with fuel management on forest land”, were Santarém, Castelo Branco, Braga, Coimbra and Aveiro.

In the “districts where there is a lower record of non-compliance with fuel management on forest land, in the same period, the districts of Évora, Bragança, Portalegre, Viana do Castelo and Beja stand out”, added the GNR.

“From 2019 until April 14, 2024, 4,831 people were identified and 404 suspects were arrested for forest fires,” the note reads.

The GNR considers that, after identifying the causes of fires, and, taking into account that “burnings and fires alone contribute to more than 35% of fire occurrences in recent years”, everyone must “make an effort so that fuel reduction can be carried out using other alternative methods”, such as “incorporation into the soil and the production of biomass, thus reducing the risk of generating incidents”.

The GNR has assumed as a strategic priority the protection of people and property, in the context of rural fires, “supported by preventive action and reinforced patrolling in forest areas”.

Within the scope of the Integrated Rural Fire Management System (SGIFR), the police force employs military personnel and forest guards from the structure of the Nature and Environmental Protection Service (SEPNA) and the Emergency Protection and Relief Unit (UEPS).

Between 2019 and 2023, the GNR recorded “35,097 awareness-raising actions, thus reaching 428,389 people”, the note states.