20 arsonists arrested so far this year

PJ police have already arrested 20 arsonists this year– 14 more than those arrested last year during the first half of 2013.
Five were arrested by the PJ’s criminal branch of the centre, while both the local criminal investigation unit of Vila Real and the criminal investigation department of Aveiro arrested a further four each.
The data comes from the PJ police and is cited by news agency Lusa, as Portugal’s critical fire season started on Tuesday (July 1) and will continue until September 30.
A total of 29,697 firefighters, 2,027 vehicles and 49 helicopters are on call across the country to tackle any fires.
So far, over 2,700 fires have been registered in Portugal – a further 389 than last year – and a total of 4,424 hectares have been burnt down – 48% more than the area affected last year, says a report by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry (ICNF).
2013 stood out as the year that registered the largest forest area burnt down in the last eight years, in a total of 18,604 fires.
Nine people died in those fires, including eight firefighters and a local politician from Vouzela, Vila Real. A total of 82 arsonists were arrested last year.