“Improvised electrical connection” possible cause of Monchique fire

An “improvised electrical connection” is being named the possible cause of the fire that destroyed around 2,000 hectares of land in Monchique and Portimão on Saturday.

The blaze is believed to have started accidentally at Sítio do Tojeiro, where popular weekend ‘pizza nights’ known to attract several people are held. Several foreigners also live in the area in caravans and motorhomes.

PJ police are investigating and believe that the fire was accidentally caused by a fault in an “improvised electrical connection,” TVI reports. However, the television channel adds that the investigation has “just started” and that this is just a “preliminary analysis.”

The fire broke out at around 1.30pm on Saturday and quickly spread to Portimão, having destroyed around 2,000 hectares of land in the two boroughs. It was brought under control at 7.15am the following morning and was considered officially ‘put out’ later that day despite the strong wind which posed the danger of ‘reactivating’ the flames.

Regional civil protection boss Richard Marques said that there were no major “reactivations”, however, and those that were detected were promptly dealt with.

He added that firefighting forces would be slowly removed from the area, both to continue monitoring the situation but also to allow firefighters to return to their stations to tackle any further situations that may occur elsewhere.

Marques also added that no victims were reported and that 68 people were evacuated, 21 of whom were provided accommodation at Portimão Arena. He also revealed that 85 animals were taken to safety.

No houses were destroyed by the flames, which mostly consumed several agricultural warehouses and dozens of “end-of-life vehicles”, said GNR captain Pedro Fernandes.

Meanwhile, farmers and producers who suffered damages as a result of the fire can start reporting them to DRAP Algarve (the regional agriculture and fisheries department).

DRAP Algarve is compiling a register in order to “action eventual (financial) support”.

Those affected can either report their losses on the DRAP Algarve internet page, or go in person to the department’s headquarters in Patacão, near Faro, from Monday morning.