Fire crews battling late summer blazes

fireforestA fire swept through a pine forest in Moura, just over the Algarve border in the Alentejo on Saturday morning.

Pine, grassland and scrub were consumed before 82 firefighters brought the blaze under control and extinguished it.

Two aircraft were used to dump water on the fire with 26 vehicles supporting ground operations.

Last week there was a fire in the Algarve at Luz da Tavira in which a pasture area and an orchard were damaged before Tavira and Olhão fire teams prevented the fire from spreading.

Portugal’s weather service has kept 13 municipalities in the districts of Castelo Branco, Faro, Guarda, Leiria and Santarém on high fire risk.

In the Faro district, the Monchique council area is at the highest risk level.

In the north of the country, the Judicial Police, in collaboration with GNR, have arrested a 45-year-old man with alcohol problems who is suspected of setting 26 fires this year in forested areas in Oliveira de Azeméis.

The Benagil fire-starter captured last week now is said to have no ‘mental health issues’ and will face the full force of the law for setting light to an ecologically important valley area between Benagil and Marinha.

Portugal’s Air Force chiefs have demanded to know why skilled pilots are not being put to use on firefighting operations, rather than the taxpayer footing the bill for private contractors brought in at great expense at short notice.

The land area destroyed by fires in Portugal to August 15th this year is 103,000 hectares, three times the average of the last ten years, according to the Institute for Nature and Forests. There have been 20% fewer fires but the average has been for bigger fires affecting more land.

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+2 #1 Poor Portugésa 2016-08-22 12:54
Of course, the air force pilots should be used and that shady outfit charging E185,000 per hour per plane should return at least some of the E5million...

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