REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais has handed over seven vehicles to seven volunteer fire brigades (Alvalade - Santiago do Cacém, Águas de Moura - Palmela, Marco de Canaveses, Ponte de Lima, Salto - Montalegre, Sacavém - Loures and Terras de Bouro), in line with its policy of support for local communities and prevention of rural wildfires.
Since 2009, REN has donated more than 70 vehicles for the prevention of forest fires. It has also been working in close cooperation with the ANEPC, ICNF and municipalities in the protection of forests against fires. During the fire season, REN activates its prevention, warning and action plan. Under this plan, the company has six teams on 24-hour alert between 1 June and 30 September 2020.
REN considers that 'this donation is an acknowledgement of the work done by fire brigades all year round. But it is with fire-fighting in mind that, every month, REN undertakes different prevention campaigns in association with the authorities. We clear the scrub in transmission corridors to increase the resilience of our infrastructure and surrounding land to wildfires, while also facilitating fire-fighting for fire brigades and other civil defence crews'.
REN protects the forests
• Some important work in the prevention of wildfires has been done by REN, in conjunction with the Portuguese Civil Protection Authority, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests and the municipalities through which national electricity transmission grid lines and national gas network pipelines pass.
• More than 30,000 hectares have been cleared in the last five years, which is equivalent to 30,000 football pitches. In 2019 alone, REN worked on more than 8,000 hectares (31 hectares a day).
• This work is done on land that does not belong to REN, meaning that the owners have to be contacted before any work is started. In recent years, this work has involved contacting more than 25,000 owners a year. In 2019, 28,191 owners were contacted.
• REN has donated 71 vehicles for the prevention of forest fires since 2009. Forty-four vehicles were donated to volunteer fire brigades and 27 to local authority fire prevention teams.
• In 2019, REN invested more than 8 million euros in clearing corridors, contacting owners and supervising safety. This last aspect is extremely significant, as it helped to improve occupational health and safety conditions for many crews doing this work.
• REN bought five motorised scrub cutters in order to increase the productivity of its service providers. This was the first time this kind of equipment was introduced in Portugal.
• Since 2010 REN has planted more than a million trees in an area of over 3,000 hectares. It has been replacing fast-growing species by native trees that are more resistant to fire.
• These conversions covered more than 15,000 owners, who are now able to earn an income from land that was often abandoned. They have also improved biodiversity.