The causalities for rural fires can be diverse, and the respective classification is defined hierarchically in three levels, identifying each cause with three digits.

Code 211, which is part of the “Accidental” category and the “Transport and Communications” subcategory, classifies occurrences originating from “power lines that ignite through contact, discharge, breakage or electric arc”. However, with this coding it is not possible to differentiate the cause by the four voltage levels.

Over the last 22 years, around 3,200 incidents in Portugal (approximately 123,000 ha of burnt area) have been recorded with cause 211 (undifferentiated between MHV, HV, MV or LV electric lines). Although this represents only 1.41 per cent of the total number of fires that have occurred in this period with an identified cause, this situation is worrying for electricity network concessionaires, as it harms public opinion and makes it impossible for the current undifferentiated record to suggest the actions needed to mitigate the problem.

The transmission network and the distribution network are different, even in the legal framework for their activity. Due to their specific characteristics, the infrastructure presents very different risks and solutions when it comes to managing their security areas.

Therefore, in addition to the importance of clarifying the contribution of the different infrastructures (MHT, HT, MT or LT) to the total number of ignitions, it is essential to review potential inconsistencies in the legal framework (fuel management in infrastructure strips/protection of legally protected tree and bush species).





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