Forest fires in Portugal
In Portugal, the entire forest cover engages around 38% of its total land surface and the various forest products are extremely important contributors to the export market thus aiding economic growth and prosperity. The various forest products like wood pulp, paper pulp and paper board, cork, cellulose, eucalyptus have recorded a significant increase in production in the recent times and this has positively affected the economy as in the year 2000 itself, there has been noticed an estimated rise in exports by about 25% compared to that in the year 1999. however, despite all this, one of the major threats lurking in the corner for Portuguese forest covers are the widespread forest fires that are extremely common in the country and cause widespread devastation and havoc thus ruining huge tracts of forest land and destroying plantations. In fact, in a widespread survey conducted amidst Portuguese nationals in the recent past has shown that a whopping section of 97.7% of the population is of the opinion that one of the major threats to the forest cover in Portugal are due to forest fires. What has further aggravated the problem is the absence of adequate measures. Forest wildfires in Portugal have devastative effects on the environment like causing soil erosion and affecting the ecological balance of the forest environment along with the massive loss of human lives. Moreover, the number of technicians and firefighters who are appointed for the protection of the forest resources are often incompetent and inefficient and this added to the lack of proper forest management has added to the problem.
In recent times, while forest fires have aggravated, several measures have also been undertaken as preventive measures. These include generation of public awareness regarding the causes of wildfires and adopt the means of combating it and also by choosing to plant such plants which are less prone to combustion.