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Decree Law No. 44/2020

Publication: Republic Diary No. 141/2020, Series I of 2020-07-22
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 44/2020
  • Pages: 4 - 23

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law amends the legal scheme applicable to forest sappers, teams and brigades of forest sappers on national territory.

What is going to change?

The functions of forest sappers are adjusted in the area of fighting rural fires and in emergency stabilisation actions that minimise the damage resulting from erosion processes.

The Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), in articulation with the teams of sappers and the training entities that make up the National System of Qualifications, promotes the implementation of multi-annual training plans.

Forest sappers must have completed 800 hours of training, up to five years after being hired, in order to obtain professional qualification.

Afterwards, they must, every five years, carry out recycling actions, provided by the ICNF.

Forest sappers who are machine operators must have professional training appropriate to the type of machine they operate.

The maximum period for hiring a new member, after the termination of duties of a member of the forest sappers team, shall be 60 days, from the date of termination of duties of the previous sappers. Before, the deadline was 180 days.

A forest sappers brigade is created, consisting of three forest sappers teams from a single entity, which is responsible for the brigade and its activity.

These brigades carry out mainly preventive forestry actions, combat support, aftermath and emergency stabilisation actions.

The creation of forest sappers brigades is the responsibility of ICNF.

The forest sappers have their own individual protection equipment for each of the components of their activity.

The area of intervention per team of forest sappers may not exceed a total area of 10,000 hectares. Activity plan and report

The entities in charge of the forest sappers teams draw up and insert into the Information System of the Forest Sappers Programme (SISF), by 30 November of each year, the plan of activities for the following year. Before that, the deadline was 31 October.

The deadline for the ICNF to approve the plan of activities is increased from 60 to 30 days in a row.

Entities holding forest sappers teams must report the activity of forestry sappers teams through the activity reports.

If the entities holding forest sappers teams do not submit the activity plan within the established deadlines, they lose the support for the year in question.

If they do not submit any activity report within the set deadlines, they lose 0.5% of the annual support for each missing document.

State support for forest sappers teams

The financial support granted by the State, through the Permanent Forestry Fund, to forest sappers teams will now have a maximum annual value of 45,000.00€ (5,000€ more than previously defined).

This amount may reach up to 60 000.00€ per team, in the event that the holder entity is an intermunicipal entity holding brigade or brigades of forest sappers.

Extinction of forest sappers teams

Teams of forest sappers are extinguished when, for example:

    • They do not present for three years the activity plans and reports to which they are obliged and they do not make up for this lack within the deadline set by the ICNF;
    • They do not carry out preventive, public service forestry work for three years and do not make up for the shortfall within the deadline set by the ICNF;
    • They do not contract the compulsory number of forest sappers.
What advantages does it bring?

This decree-law reinforces the function of forest sappers.

It ensures consistency between the activity carried out by the teams of sappers and the forest protection and defence measures established in the National Plan for the Integrated Management of Rural Fires Strategy.

When does it enter into force?

This decree-law enters into force on the day following its publication.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.