Mangualde fires destroy classic cars worth “around €1 million”

As the weekend brought the total number of fires in Portugal over the last two weeks to 2,680, damages came into sharp focus in Mangualde where a vintage car buff saw his entire open-air museum consumed by flames.

Mining company boss José Carolino could not even bring himself to look at the devastation – only telling reporters that his financial loss was in the region of €1 million.

The practical loss was 19 classic cars of all makes and models, including Jaguars.

Carolino’s family said the businessman was “speechless” over the fire that also destroyed a number of vehicles related to his mining business, including trucks full of tools and equipment.

The Mangualde area was most hit by fires in the last week, with blazes breaking out every day for eight days and thousands of hectares of land destroyed.

PJ police are investigating as the majority of incidents took hold during the night and were almost certainly started on purpose.

Only the cooler temperatures and rain in some areas on Sunday have brought the situation under control.

Collating information, the ANPC civil protection authority has confirmed that this year there have been more than double the number of fires than in 2014, but that less land has suffered.

In figures, fires so far this year have come to 10,695 whereas in 2014 the total was only 4165.

The largest fire so far this year has been in Vila Nova de Cerveira, where 3000 hectares of forest was destroyed.

The worst day for fires, so far, has been Sunday, August 9.

And as firefighters have time to reflect, criticism now rests on the €38 million ploughed into fire-support planes and helicopters. According to “men on the ground”, air support is still “too little” and it takes “too long to arrive”.

As for arsonists already identified, PJ police and the GNR have between them rounded up 82 people this year. These have mostly been between the ages of 40-60 and all of them heavy drinkers.

[email protected]