Inside the TNM – the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra, a walled area, under surveillance and with a good transport network enabling Forestry Fire Service teams to carry out swift and early interventions, may be considered as experiencing a low to moderate risk of fire.
However, there still also remains the risk of fire contagion from adjoining lands.
The highest fire risk zone extends all along the Northeast boundary that is primarily populated with groves of eucalyptus amidst fairly thick bush with the slopes displaying fairly steep inclines and hence exposing the sides to the corresponding winds and thus potentially driving the intensity of any flames.
This zone, having been spared from fire in recent years, now displays a high level of biomass accumulation and thus deemed the single largest fire risk currently existing in the TNM.
We would furthermore highlight how this area of vegetation extends as far as divisional border of the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra and forms part of the tree canopy that runs from the border well into the extent of the TNM’s grounds and thus establishing continuity between its exterior and interior.
On the Northwest of the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra, the danger of fire essentially derives from Quinta da Barroca, an area of dense forest next to the TNM border, separated only by a national road, and containing a dense eucalyptus plantation spanning a considerable extent.
While also taking into account the fact of topography in this zone (very irregular) and the difficulties in gaining access, we may consider this area as experiencing a moderate risk of forest fire.
This was exactly the source of the fire that broke out on 11th September 2003 and that ended up consuming around 70% of the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra.
CONTROLLED FIRE PLAN
Brush and grassland make up 52% of the area swept away by the fire of September 2003 with the natural tendency being for their natural regeneration and their expansion into other fire destroyed areas and especially by heathers and ferns.
With this plan, we seek to invert this trend and bring about discontinuities that nurture the effective division of the forested area while simultaneously fostering better conditions for the hunting of fauna and the reconversion of areas of bushland, especially those with ferns and heathers prevailing.
In the non-burned area, such bushland covers 31.2% of land. Here, controlled burning essentially serves to control the mass of burnable materials without significantly altering the vegetation prevailing.
With this mosaic strategy, with its zones prescribed by controlled burning and areas left free of any such intervention and thereby also nurturing the habitats for various populations of wild fauna, including deer, fallow deer, rabbit, partridge, and among others.
The National Hunting Grounds of Mafra collaborates both with the municipal DFCI team and with the internal team of forest fire fighters that watch not only the grounds but also patrol its surroundings.
In addition, TNM runs two heavy-duty fire fighting vehicles manned by TNM members of staff on days of peak risk.
TNM also remains in close cooperation with the Mafra GTF in terms of technical support.