18 April 2024

Wildfires and electrical infrastructure safety under discussion in Tábua

As the critical phase of wildfires approaches, around 150 firefighters from the districts of Aveiro, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Leiria, and Viseu, along with other civil protection officials, gathered in Tábua for a session on wildfires and electrical infrastructure safety. This initiative, organised by REN and the Portuguese Firefighters' League, brought together around 30 fire brigades, which also took part in a fire prevention exercise held at the REN substation in Tábua.

With the opening session led by the Mayor of Tábua, Ricardo Cruz, the role of REN in forest defence against wildfires and substation safety was one of the highlights of an event held at the auditorium of the Centro Cultural de Tábua. The event also featured a presentation by the Centre for Forest Fire Studies of the University of Coimbra (ADAI) on the behaviour of wildfires. In the afternoon, the Tábua Substation was chosen as the location for a fire drill with the participation of Tábua's Firefighters, under the watchful eye of all other participating fire brigades.

The President of the Portuguese Firefighters' League, António Nunes, stated that "these types of activities are highly relevant for fire brigades, providing them with tools to enhance their firefighting capabilities, especially in electrical infrastructures".

Mónica Conceição, REN's Head of Operations, highlighted that "the company is constantly engaged in prevention actions, closely liaising with the competent authorities. Therefore, this event is a key opportunity to share experiences with the entities that defend the forest every day. The management of our energy transmission corridors increases the resilience of our infrastructure and the territories where they are located, but also creates opportunities for firefighters and other Civil Protection Teams".

At national level, REN has almost 10,000 kilometres (around 35,000 hectares) of power line and gas pipeline easements, with more than 60% of these easements (23,000 hectares) in forest areas. In the last five years, REN has managed vegetation on more than 50,000 hectares.

During the entire wildfire season, REN operates six prevention and surveillance teams, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These teams are equipped with first intervention equipment, which enables them to carry out a first intervention to combat wildfire outbreaks.

Since 2009, REN has donated nearly 100 vehicles to prevent wildfires, both to voluntary fire brigades and to civil protection fire prevention teams from the municipalities.