“Improvised electrical connection” possible cause of the Monchique fire
An “improvised electrical connection” is pointed out as the possible cause of the fire which destroyed approximately 2,000 hectares of land on Saturday in Monchique and Portimão.
The fire is said to have accidentally started in Sítio do Tojeiro, where popular weekend “pizza parties” are held, known to attract many people. Several foreigners also live in the area in caravans and motorhomes.
PJ police are investigating and believe the fire was accidentally caused by a fault in an “improvised electrical connection,” TVI reports. However, the TV channel adds that the investigation has just “started” and that it is only a “preliminary analysis”.
The fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and quickly spread to Portimão, destroying around 2,000 hectares of land in the two districts. It was brought under control at 7.15 am the next morning and was considered officially “extinct” later in the day despite the strong wind which posed the danger of “reactivating” the flames.
Regional civil protection boss Richard Marques said there had been no major “reactivations”, however, and those that were detected were quickly dealt with.
He added that firefighting forces would be slowly withdrawn from the area, both to continue monitoring the situation but also to allow firefighters to return to their posts to deal with any other situation that may arise elsewhere.
Marques also added that no casualties were reported and 68 people were evacuated, of whom 21 were accommodated in Portimão Arena. He also revealed that 85 animals had been taken to safety.
No houses were destroyed by the flames, which mainly consumed several agricultural warehouses and dozens of “end-of-life vehicles”, said GNR captain Pedro Fernandes.
Meanwhile, farmers and growers who have suffered damage from the fire can start reporting it to DRAP Algarve (the regional agriculture and fisheries department).
DRAP Algarve is in the process of drawing up a register in order to “activate possible (financial) support”.
Those affected can either report their losses on the DRAP Algarve web page or come in person to the department’s headquarters in Patacão, near Faro, from Monday morning.