Monchique fire thought to have been started by ‘an improvised electrical connection’
The Judiciary Police are investigating the fire in Monchique that broke out at 13:30 on Saturday. The flames have consumed more than 600 hectares in that municipality, and then spread to Portimão.
Authorities believe the fire started accidentally, they suspect that the origin was an improvised electrical connection in the annexe of an association, that used to be used as a kitchen.
The fire, that raged since Saturday in the municipalities of Monchique and Portimão, was declared extinguished on Sunday evening, having entered the surveillance phase at 19:00 after a day of aftermath, said the commander of operations.
At a press conference at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portimão, the Faro District Operational Commander for Civil Protection, Richard Marques, said that the crews would still remain on the ground to “consolidate the affected area”, which amounts to “2000 hectares within a perimeter of 24 square kilometres”.
On Sunday, and despite the intensity of the wind, which reached gusts of 50 kilometers per hour, “there were no great reactivations” and those that did exist were “promptly resolved by the devices on the ground: 426 operational, supported by 143 vehicles, four aircraft and five crawler machines.
Richard Marques revealed that the weather forecast for this Monday is “similar to Sunday”, so “there will still be crews and resources on the ground throughout the day, reassessing and monitoring the situation,” he said.
The Faro District Operational Commander for Civil Protection announced that “there were no registered “victims of the fire” and that the residents have already returned to their homes.
In all, “68 people” were evacuated from their homes, “21 spent the night at the Centre for Concentration and Support to the Population, in Portimão Arena”, and “85 animals” were also welcomed.
Regarding the extent of the damage, the representative of the Guarda Nacional Republica present at the press conference revealed that it was “essentially damage to some warehouses supporting agricultural activity and some old vehicles”, namely in the area of ??origin of the fire.
Captain Pedro Fernandes pointed out that the “primary damage” where the fire is thought to have started was in an annexe to a residence, but did not affect the main house.
At the press conference held on Sunday morning, the mayor of Monchique, Rui André, revealed that he had already carried out a survey of the damages in his municipality and that of the approximately 2000 hectares burned, made up of eucalyptus, forest, pasture, cork oak, stone pine and 25 hectares of agricultureal land.