Forest Fires

Detailed instructions for the prevention of forest fires from the site of the general secretariat for Civil Protection


If you are in the countryside

  • Don’t burn litter or dry vegetation and small branches (twigs) during the summer.
  • Don’t use open-air barbecues in forests or places close to dry vegetation during the summer.
  • Avoid open-air activities that may cause fire (i.e. torch weld, wheel or other instruments that create sparks).
  • Never throw lit cigarettes in open-air places.
  • Don’t leave rubbish in the forest. There is danger of ignition.
  • Respect the signs prohibiting access in periods of high risk.


If your home lies inside or near a forest or a forest area

  • Create a fire break around your home by clearing dry leaves and vegetation, pine-needles, branches etc at least within a 10 meter radius of your house.
  • Prune the trees up to the height of 3 meters, according to their age and condition.
  • Remove all dry branches from the trees and the bushes.
  • Prune the trees within a 5 meter radius from your home so that their branches don’t lean on the walls, on the roof or the balconies.
  • Space out around the building the woody vegetation so that the branches of one tree are at least 3 meters apart from another. For greater protection, remove the woody and bushy vegetation around the building at a distance of at least 10 meters, provided that the clearing of natural vegetation for the necessary protection of buildings is not contrary to the forest legislation provisions.
  • Don’t install plastic drain spouts or pipes to the walls of the building.
  • Protect the windows and the glass doors by installing shutters from non-flammable materials.
  • Cover the chimneys and the ventilation pipes with non-flammable material so that the sparks will not penetrate the interior of the building.
  • Don’t store flammable objects close to the house.
  • Keep the fire-wood in closed and protected places.
  • Don’t build uncovered fuel tanks close to the house.
  • Be equipped with the appropriate fire-extinguishers and take care of their maintenance.
  • Be equipped with a water hose with length proportional to the area you want to protect.
  • Be equipped with a water tank, a simple non-electric powered pump and a water hose.


If you notice fire

  • Call IMMEDIATELY the Fire Service call center (199) and give clear information about:
    – the location and the exact point where you are,
    – the location, the exact point and the direction of  fire,
    – the kind of vegetation that is burning.



If fire is approaching your home

  • Stay calm.
  • Remove all the flammable materials from around the building to closed and protected places.
  • Close all the passages (chimneys, windows, doors etc) to prevent sparks entering the building.
  • Shut off all the gas and liquid-fuel supplies inside and outside the building.
  • Close the awnings on the balconies and the windows.
  • Open the gate of the garden to facilitate the fire fighting vehicle access.
  • Put a ladder outside the building so that someone is able to climb immediately on the roof. The ladder should be placed at the opposite side of the fire direction.
  • Connect the water hoses with the taps outside the building and spread them so that the perimeter of the building is covered.
  • If visibility is reduced, switch on the interior and exterior lights of the building in order to be more visible through smoke.


If fire has reached your home

  • Do not abandon the building unless your escape is completely secured.
  • Do not take shelter in a car. The possibility of survival in a building constructed by non flammable materials is greater than that inside a vehicle close to smoke and fire.
  • If you stay indoors:
    – Close firmly all the doors and windows.
    – Block up all the cracks with wet clothes, in order to prevent smoke penetration.
    – Remove the curtains from the windows.
    – Move any furniture into the center of the residence away from windows and exterior doors.
    – Close all interior doors to slow down the fire spreading in the building.
    – Fill up the bathtub, wash-basins and buckets so that you have spare water.
    – Gather all together in one room.
    – Keep a torch and spare batteries at hand in case of electric power failure.
  • If your home is made of wood, seek shelter in a fire-resistant building.
  • If evacuation is ordered, strictly follow the instructions and the routes suggested by the Authorities.


After the fire is extinguished

  • Get out of the house and at once put out the remaining hot spots.
  • Inspect for at least 48 hours, at regular intervals, the perimeter and the exterior of the building for possible re-ignitions.