image taken by passenger on incoming plane this morning

Fires break out in Algarve

Most significant fire begins at 11.30 on Tuesday night near Faro

Fires have broken out in the Algarve after a day in which the worst of the heatwave’s blazes have been concentrated in the centre of the country.

The first began around 11.30 last night in an area of scrubland near the site of the University of the Algarve complex in Gambelas.

Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau suspects arson but says this will need to be properly established

Thanks to wind direction, the blaze was being blown away from the university, towards an area of marshland in a valley, which mayor Rogério Bacalhau said he hoped meant the incident would be short lived.

The fact that the fire broke out during the night, when temperatures were not so high suggests it may have been started on purpose, he said – but this is for a subsequent investigation to try and establish.

As dawn broke, the fire was still active, and being tackled by over 180 firefighters from Albufeira, Loulé and Olhão.

Very early this morning (5.30am) reports came of a second fire, in the borough of Silves, having broken out in scrubland. It looks now (8am) that this incident has been tackled and is ‘over’ in terms of registering on any fire-watch sites.

Updates on the Gambelas fire can be followed on the Alerta Incéndio Florestal/ Forest Fire Alert facebook page, and through our own reports.

As the country ‘wakes up’ to another day of blistering temperatures and high winds, nationally the picture remains very tough: 14 ‘active fires’ on the go; Leiria still being the district that is most worrying authorities.

Updates to keep coming through the day.