Saturday, October 16, 2021

Garden fires can be very dangerous in hot countries, like Portugal, but are also very necessary, but the time for burning is controlled.

Usually towards the end of May restrictions on having any fire in gardens or other land, come into force, they are published by ProCIV and by local councils.

After the given date fires are only permitted with permission, until the end of Summer Fire Season, this was extended in 2017 into October, and again in 2018 it has been extended to the end of fire
There is a long held belief, especially in rural areas, that you can have fires when it is raining, however in recent years this was change and due to large fires in 2017 is now more regulated.

These restrictions are very important and very strictly enforced. If anyone was in Portugal in 2005, 2011 or 2017 and remembers the devastation the fires caused you will fully appreciate why there are such restrictions. Hundreds or thousands of hectars of forest have been destroyed and many lives lost over recent years. 

If you want to check the date for your area then simply contact either your local Bombeiros or GNR and they will be able to tell you.

It should be obvious but I will say it anyway," Never Leave a Garden Fire Unattended."


So what is the alternative?

If you have any sort of garden you will always have garden rubbish to dispose of. Burning is not always the answer, a lot of material can be composted and so become a rich form of soil conditioner or mulch. In May there are a lot of fallen leaves from the cork oaks and rather than raking them up and burning them consider mixing with other compostable material or collecting together in a leaf pile to use for mulching trees and vegetables.

A leaf pile can be just a pile of leaves covered over to retain moisture and help to start breaking the leaves down, or one of the big blue plastic water butts that you can buy second hand for a few euros.

If you have thicker branches, and a lot of garden, consider getting a garden shredder. They can usually cope with up to 35 - 40mm diameter branches. The resulting shredded wood can again be composted or mulched.

The mulch can then be used throughout the summer around the base of trees and bushes or amongst vegetable patches. The big advantage of mulch is that it will help retain moisture, it will also break down into the soil, unlike plastic mulch materials that you can buy. More economical and more environmental!