Easter Monday heralds the GNR’s inspection phase to see how well property and landowners have done in clearing scrubland and trees around their buildings, by the side of roads and along paths.
From April 2nd, warnings can be issued by the GNR to those who have failed in their civic duties and marks the date from which councils can undertake the work necessary, later charging landowners for their efforts.
The extension from March 15th to the end of the month, allowed some leeway for those unable to get work done in time. Fines ranging from €280 to €120,000 are provided for in a law designed to get the nation to work but these fines can not be issued until June.
At the end of the deadline, the Prime Minister, António Costa, explained that the GNR will start noting land not yet cleaned by the end of March, but stressed that this first stage "is not a fine "and that "no fines will be imposed if, by June, the clean-up is effectively completed."
As part of the "Protected Forest" operation, the GNR has organised, "more than 7,000 awareness actions to a total of about 105,000 people," through the Service for the Protection of Nature and the Environment (SEPNA) and the Protection and Relief Intervention Group (GIPS).
"People have been made aware, there is clearly a willingness and a better awareness of the importance of clearing the forests for the prevention of forest fires," said GNR spokesman, Bruno Marques, stressing that cleaning-up work will make people and equipment safer, so "it is everyone's responsibility - this starts with the owner of the land.”
According to Marques, "there is still work to do, but compared with other years there is a much greater awareness of this important phase of prevention."