Devastating Algarve wildfires destroyed “10 times more land” than last year

Wildfires in the Algarve destroyed “10 times more land” this year than in 2015 – with most of the damage being caused by three major blazes.

The largest conflagration affected Monchique and Portimão and consumed 3,745 hectares of land. The other two wreaked havoc in Perna Seca, Silves (1,782 hectares) and Almarjão, Silves (150 hectares).

Together, the fires account for 98% of the land destroyed by flames until October 31. In total, 5,801 hectares of land were ravaged by fires in the Algarve as opposed to last year’s 474.

However, civil protection boss for the Algarve Vaz Pinto says it could have been worse.

“Considering the severe weather conditions and the history of the affected areas, we can say it was a good year and that the results are very positive,” he said presenting the results in Faro this week.

Among the good news is that the number of forest fire alerts dropped to 463 between January 1 and October 31, a 19.2% reduction compared to 2015.

Nearly 200 of them turned out to be false alarms, while only 10 blazes raged for more than an hour-and-a-half.

Data from GNR police shows that 13% of fires were caused by arson, a five percentage point increase on last year, while fires caused by negligence dropped from 34% in 2015 to 29%.

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