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A Nossa Terra -

Associação Ambiental
Rua do Repouso 6-1 Esq.
8550-462 Monchique, Portugal

Móvel: +351 963 559 253


Tel: +351 282 911 257

LAND REGENERATION AFTER A FOREST FIRE


Monchique 2018
These recommendations are for plots of up to 10 hectares, managed to create diverse and fire-
resistant forests. For commercial plantations, the ICNF provides appropriate information. We
recommend professional advice and services for major interventions.

Immediately after the fire


• When working in burnt areas avoid breathing problems caused by ash and dust. The DGS
(Health Department) recommends a N95 type respiratory disposable mask, equivalent to CE
EN149 FFP2 and FFP3. These masks seal to the face of the person, avoiding the entrance of
particles in the inspired air. They are different from medical masks that prevent contamination
from expired air.
• Identify and minimize immediate hazards created by the fire, such as: fallen or falling trees;
buildings at risk of collapse; unstable stones or slopes.
• Re-establish irrigation and water supply systems for the home and animals. You can leave some
water points for the birds and wild animals that survived the fire. Ensure that the water is not
contaminated by ashes.
• Clean around the house to reduce dust from the ash.
• Plant some flowers around the house to reduce dust and bring color and hope.
• Leave out food for surviving animals and birds.
• Record the damages and losses with your insurer, at your Junta de Freguesia, at the Câmara
Municipal, with the Regional Directorate of Agriculture, and at www.ajudamonchique.com.
• Save proof of damages and losses (photographs, damaged material and equipment, purchase
receipts).

The first weeks


• Reestablish vegetation in the garden and around the house. You can plant seeds of appropriate
crops for the time of year. Simply watering will stimulate the growth of the seeds that have
survived in the soil. Planting leguminous and grass mixes quickly creates a cover to hold the soil
against erosion by wind and rain. There are mixtures already prepared with seeds such as oats,
vetches, cloves, alfalfa, and trefoil. These mixtures also help feed surviving animals and birds.
• Leave oaks, cork oaks, medronho and other autochthonous species. They have probably
survived and will regrow in the spring. Some people recommend cutting back medronho trees
to encourage regrowth in the spring.
• Leave fruit trees, as they may have survived and may regrow in the spring.
• Cut all the eucalyptus trees on your land. Avoid re-growth with a thick, earth-covered plastic
sheet to prevent light from entering and the emergence of shoots.
• Cut almost all acacias on your land. Leave some larger (every 10 meters or so), which will
absorb the nutrients of the root system, preventing the sprouting of thousands of acacias.

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• Cut burnt pines, trying to keep the cut material arranged on the ground so as to catch water
and keep organic matter in the soil. This will be important for future fertility.
• Controlling erosion is essential to retain soil, water and nutrients. It can be done before the
next rains (usually in October) with cut wood, stones or wood intertwined in stakes, according
to the available material, placed on contour lines. Ashes and material washed away by water
will contaminate water courses, and there may be landslides with torrential rains or
contamination of streams and dams.
• Evaluate your need for native and fruit trees and shrub species. Register your needs with A
Nossa Terra, which is organizing bulk orders.
• Plan how to reduce the amount of fuel on your land, using shade from adult trees and
herbivores (sheep, goats, donkey etc.). Acquire knowledge for their future management.

In autumn and winter


• Sow or plant species of native trees and shrubs immediately below the erosion control lines, if
any, or simply following the contour line.
• Along the water lines, sow or plant species of native trees and shrubs that will protect the
banks from erosion (willows, elderberries, alders, etc.). As adults, they will create shade in
spring and summer and thus reduce the growth of weeds, such as blackberries.
• Prepare the drains along the access roads to avoid erosion during the rains.
• Confirm that eucalyptus shoots cannot reach the light.
• Remove acacia shoots with their roots.
• Install equipment for herbivores (fencing, water, sheds).

In the spring
• Check which trees survived and remove trees that did not survive.
• Train the trees that have produced many shoots from the root, choosing the ones that appear
most vigorous.
• Allow natural regeneration, especially of trees, shrubs and other native plants.
• Confirm that eucalyptus shoots cannot reach the light.
• Remove acacia shoots with roots.
• Ring bark the larger acacia trees, as recommended by the ICNF, to kill the plant and also the
root system.
• In late spring, let most plants produce seeds to recreate the seed stock in the soil.
• Cut back combustible undergrowth and re-sow a mixture of grasses and legumes.
• Remove other invasive species or weeds when small (canas, tintureira, blackberry, etc.).
• Acquisition of herbivores (sheep, goats, donkey etc.).

Safety
• Do not go back or enter the house without the permission of firefighters or other authorities.
• Be careful when walking in the forest or fields, there may still be incandescent matter, pits or
holes where you can burn or injure yourself.
• If you have a cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, dizziness, or headache, go to a health
care provider, pharmacy, doctor or hospital.
• If you experience itching or irritation of the eyes, treat with saline or eye drops with lubricant.
Wash with plenty of water if you cannot get these. If the symptoms persist, seek medical
attention.

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• Replace minerals lost by sweating. In case of cramps, weakness, or fatigue, then drink fruit
juices or oral rehydration solutions from the pharmacy.
• In case of burning without blistering: 1- Cool immediately with cold running water for at least 5
minutes; 2- Remove rings, necklaces, earrings, belt, piercings or other objects. If they are
attached to the skin, do not remove them and seek medical attention; 3- If the skin is whole,
protect the burned area with gauze, tissue or clean cloth; 4- Apply impregnated gauze or
creams for this purpose, but not between the fingers, face or genitals.
• In case of blistering or damaged skin: In addition to previous care, seek prompt medical
attention.

References
• 3M Technical data bulletin #231. Respirators and surgical masks. 08/08/2014.
• Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo, Espanha. Reabilitação de Áreas Ardidas na
Bacia Mediterrânica. 2006.
• DGS Comunicado C137_01_v1. Medidas preventivas à exposição a fumo de incêndios.
17/8/2017.
• Direcção-Geral dos Recursos Florestais. Sobreiros queimados – o que fazer. 2ª edição. 2004.
• Direcção-Geral dos Recursos Florestais. Gestão pós-fogo – extração da madeira queimada e
proteção da floresta contra a erosão do solo. 2005.
• Terracrua Design. Intervenções de emergência pós incêndio florestal. 2017.
• Terracrua Design. Intervenções de emergência em quintas afetadas pelos incêndios de junho de
2017 na zona de Pedrógão Grande, v1.0. Terracrua Design. 2017.
• Textos de Patricia Santos, Stephen Hugman, Marina Zimmermann

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