Forest fire aware

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Forest fire aware


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Old 6th July 2017, 04:49 PM
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Default Forest fire aware

Due to the recent dreadful fires and loss of life in central Portugal I am opening this thread. IT IS SOLELY FOR INFORMATION so please can we keep it to that.

More information to follow once all the legalities are checked.
TRAVELLING MAN is working on the legalities with a friend
Once it is all together he will post all the information.


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Old 6th July 2017, 06:37 PM
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My thanks to Siobhan.

I've been working on this with some of my Portuguese friends & we're currently putting together a full set of Portuguese language documents that can be submitted to the relevant authorities AND a set of English language guides so that the complainant can force the issue of having landowner or Camara clear the land in a sensible time period & if they do not, then the landowner can clear the offending land themselves or appoint a contractor to do it & then sell the wood to recover his/her costs.

In the meantime, full facts (but not documents & guides yet) are here: This summer, protect your household from wildfires! |

Basically; the law states that a firebreak of 10 m from the road verge, 50m from a lone house & 100m from a village etc be observed.

I appreciate enforcing this isn't going to be popular with the owners of commercial woodland & also that it'll cost them money but rather that than it costs people homes, lives, property & livestock.

And if the landowners of commercial woodland don't like it, they can go hang.

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Old 8th July 2017, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelling-man View Post
My thanks to Siobhan.

I've been working on this with some of my Portuguese friends & we're currently putting together a full set of Portuguese language documents that can be submitted to the relevant authorities AND a set of English language guides so that the complainant can force the issue of having landowner or Camara clear the land in a sensible time period & if they do not, then the landowner can clear the offending land themselves or appoint a contractor to do it & then sell the wood to recover his/her costs.

In the meantime, full facts (but not documents & guides yet) are here: This summer, protect your household from wildfires! |

Basically; the law states that a firebreak of 10 m from the road verge, 50m from a lone house & 100m from a village etc be observed.

I appreciate enforcing this isn't going to be popular with the owners of commercial woodland & also that it'll cost them money but rather that than it costs people homes, lives, property & livestock.

And if the landowners of commercial woodland don't like it, they can go hang.
Well done TM. Keep up the good work. You mentioned to me recently the requirement for the tree line to be 50 metres from a habitable building or outbuilding. If I am reading that document correctly, it mentions, "50 meters around, from masonry boundaries." Does that mean that if the perimeter of your land is masonry, the 50 metres starts from there? If so, I wonder how high the 'masonry' needs to be. Would a couple of bricks do it?
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Old 8th July 2017, 03:40 PM
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Well done TM. Keep up the good work. You mentioned to me recently the requirement for the tree line to be 50 metres from a habitable building or outbuilding. If I am reading that document correctly, it mentions, "50 meters around, from masonry boundaries." Does that mean that if the perimeter of your land is masonry, the 50 metres starts from there? If so, I wonder how high the 'masonry' needs to be. Would a couple of bricks do it?
The same question also occurred to me & I think I'm going to build a couple of brick built nesting boxes right on the boundaries of my property.

We can but try.
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Old 8th July 2017, 04:37 PM
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Hi TM
Yes I'm visiting the PT forum again. Can I just clarify:

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelling-man View Post
My thanks to Siobhan.

I've been working on this with some of my Portuguese friends & we're currently putting together a full set of Portuguese language documents that can be submitted to the relevant authorities AND a set of English language guides so that the complainant can force the issue of having landowner or Camara clear the land in a sensible time period & if they do not, then the landowner can clear the offending land themselves or appoint a contractor to do it & then sell the wood to recover his/her costs.
It would appear to me that this is confusing and I think the second mention of "landowner" should be "complainant."

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Old 10th July 2017, 09:46 AM
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Hi TM
Yes I'm visiting the PT forum again. Can I just clarify:



It would appear to me that this is confusing and I think the second mention of "landowner" should be "complainant."
Sorry..... you're right.

I'm very limited to comms at the moment & my post was hurried.

So to clarify, the complainant can follow the process to have the landowner cut the offending trees & clean the offending land and if the landowner fails to do so, the complainant can then require the Camara to do it & if they do not do so, the complainant can then attach 'notice to cut' signs on some of the trees & after the time period (I think 30 days) can cut the trees himself or appoint a contractor to do it for him & then sell the wood to cover his costs.

I'm just beginning this process myself but am still researching as I go........ I'll post a proper report etc as I achieve each step and/or get proper comms back.
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Old 12th July 2017, 09:25 AM
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Just to let people know that we’re still waiting to get processes finalised & legalities checked but of course we’re slap bang in the holiday season which will quite understandably slow things down but in the meantime, I thought I’d give you an update on my particular situation in the hope that people might be able to apply my experiences to their own situation.

I don't pretend to be an expert in bush fires but I've seen a number of them in Africa & even been caught in one or two so do have limited experience. It’s not difficult to track the path of the most ferocious part of a bushfire after it’s happened. All you have to do is take a walk into the burned areas & look for signs of hottest burn & use indicators such as young pine & eucalyptus trees that have been bent over by the wind & heat & it soon becomes apparent how the fire & winds behaved.

Having spent a few hours in the last couple of days just walking through the forest behind the house it looks to me that you can see the fire came more or less from the East of my house & when it hit the upward slope behind the house it increased in speed & ferocity (fire burns 4 times faster uphill) & then burned around both sides of our house & continued on to burn 2 of my neighbours houses (one completely & the other partially) and also swept up the hill to the North, jumped the road & continued to increase speed & temperature as it went...... shortly thereafter, it consumed another house & 4 lives and from there on through the village taking other houses & lives of both human & animal.

In other words, the forest behind my house was the door through which the firestorm entered & had it been cleared of trees & undergrowth to the legal boundary of 100 metres & the road to 10 metres on either side, it's perfectly reasonable to say the fire would probably have stopped at the firebreak 100 metres behind my house & other properties & very possibly none of those houses or lives would have been lost.

So whilst we wait for the process to cut trees & clear land to be finalised, might I suggest that those concerned about their particular situation take a walk through the woodland that they’re concerned about & try to identify & photograph the most flammable areas such as undergrowth & trees etc because the more evidence you supply the easier it will be to get the land cleared when you make the complaint.

Unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to post pics for examples right now but will add those whenever my proper comms are restored.
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Old 18th July 2017, 03:05 PM
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It seems that the message is getting through, in some parts at least. I saw on the news yesterday that in one area they are cutting trees away from the roadside. I only happened to glance up at the screen as the item was ending so have no idea where it was. Now we just need the rest of the country to wake up!
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Old 19th July 2017, 05:17 AM
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Some areas are reporting that owners of commercial woodland are offering to cut the eucalyptus or even hand land over to the Camaras etc and many are suggesting it's a great step forward but I see that as too little, too late.......... Eucalyptus thrives on fire & have not only dropped their seed so new trees will grow the old ones are already regenerating if you look at them.

This means that in 5 or 10 years from now the situation will be at least as bad as it was when this wildfire occurred & very possibly worse.

Fire is a part of nature & cannot & should not be prevented but it is possible to create areas that are safe & the country already has laws in place to ensure the firebreak distances but they're flouted by the world & his dog & that must change!

The ONLY way to prevent this happening again is to cut every single eucalyptus & pine within 100 metres of buildings (50 metres for lone buildings outside villages etc) & 10 metres of roadside verges, grub out every root (of those trees) & keep those firebreak areas clean of flammable materials on a permanent basis.

If the firebreak distances could be extended and penalties for infringement increased so much the better.

There is of course another issue that to me seems to have been completely ignored...... This fire caused immense loss of lives, livelihoods & property & whilst the Portuguese people have been incredibly supportive to the (surviving) victims (for which I will be eternally grateful) we're not hearing much about prosecutions of those responsible for planting their commercial woodland right up to houses & roads & I wonder why not?

It would be easy to say 'oh well, it's not their fault, they didn't know' but the truth is that ignorance is no excuse, they probably (in many cases) did know & if they didn't know, they should have done. So that argument doesn't work for me & it won't bring back the dead, rebuild the houses or recreate the livelihoods of those that suffered.
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Old 19th July 2017, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelling-man View Post
Some areas are reporting that owners of commercial woodland are offering to cut the eucalyptus or even hand land over to the Camaras etc and many are suggesting it's a great step forward but I see that as too little, too late.......... Eucalyptus thrives on fire & have not only dropped their seed so new trees will grow the old ones are already regenerating if you look at them.

This means that in 5 or 10 years from now the situation will be at least as bad as it was when this wildfire occurred & very possibly worse.

Fire is a part of nature & cannot & should not be prevented but it is possible to create areas that are safe & the country already has laws in place to ensure the firebreak distances but they're flouted by the world & his dog & that must change!

The ONLY way to prevent this happening again is to cut every single eucalyptus & pine within 100 metres of buildings (50 metres for lone buildings outside villages etc) & 10 metres of roadside verges, grub out every root (of those trees) & keep those firebreak areas clean of flammable materials on a permanent basis.

If the firebreak distances could be extended and penalties for infringement increased so much the better.

There is of course another issue that to me seems to have been completely ignored...... This fire caused immense loss of lives, livelihoods & property & whilst the Portuguese people have been incredibly supportive to the (surviving) victims (for which I will be eternally grateful) we're not hearing much about prosecutions of those responsible for planting their commercial woodland right up to houses & roads & I wonder why not?

It would be easy to say 'oh well, it's not their fault, they didn't know' but the truth is that ignorance is no excuse, they probably (in many cases) did know & if they didn't know, they should have done. So that argument doesn't work for me & it won't bring back the dead, rebuild the houses or recreate the livelihoods of those that suffered.
Perhaps what is needed is fire wardens to go round and check that there are no infringements and, if any are found, they are reported to the local authority or whoever and action taken. People like JohnBoy could play a role by using drones to check on less easily accessed areas.
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