Monchique council in the dock for starting a forest fire

Monchique mayor Rui André has denounced a court case brought by the government forestry authority against his municipality as “ridiculous”.

Correio da Manhã newspaper reports this morning that the mountain municipality is in the dock following an accident involving one of its forestry-clearing machines last year. The caterpillar-type machine burst into flames and due to the malfunction of an onboard fire extinguisher, the fire spread and “consumed a small area of forest”.

GNR investigators initially accused the driver of “the crime of starting a fire”, said the newspaper, but they then dropped the charges – “only the case didn’t stop there” writes Correio da Manhã. “The ICNF (institute for nature conservation and forestry) fined the local authority 400 euros”, which, Monchique refused to pay.

“The council was doing its job”, André explained, stressing that it is “the only authority that does this work, and with success, and then it has to have this kind of attention from organisations that do not get involved in any kind of intervention other than the elaboration of plans and strategies”.

“This is a ridiculous situation that makes no sense”, André added.

The case continues.