Police hone in on Mondego river valley arsonist/s
Image: Carlos Martins - just one of the fires that have ignited in the Mondego river valley over the last month

Police hone in on Mondego river valley arsonist/s

At least 10 fires have been started in area in last month

Police are honing in on whoever it is who has been starting wildfires in the Mondego river valley this summer.

Over 10 fires have broken out in the area, straddling the districts of Viseu and Coimbra.

The common factor is that they start at weekends, and they are always in the ‘valley’.

The fires have blighted the boroughs of Tábua, Oliveira do Hospital, Carregal do Sal, Nelas and Mangualde.

“There is no natural justification for so many ignitions”, a firefighting source has told Correio da Manhã.

There are too many ‘coincidences’ – particularly that all the fires have “a conducting line, which are the river banks”. 

Another clear indication that the outbreaks have been started on purpose has been the fact that certain days have seen flames appear in different locations, over the space of a few hours.

Viseu district remains under ‘orange alert’ for wildfires today, while the borough of Mangualde has had a record number of wildfires this summer. 

Authorities have so far arrested 13 suspected arsonists in Viseu district alone – many of whom remain in preventive custody awaiting trial. Elsewhere – according to figures given mid-August – another 106 suspected fire-raisers have been arrested.  

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com