Two wildfires account for 98% of burned area in Algarve

Fires which broke out in Gambelas and São Marcos da Serra consumed around 2,000 hectares

Two wildfires which broke out in the Algarve last summer were responsible for 98% of the region’s burnt area this year, the regional commander of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) said on Tuesday.

The fires that broke out in Gambelas (Faro), which later spread to the luxury resort of Quinta do Lago, and São Marcos da Serra (Silves) in July consumed an area of around 2,000 hectares, with a total of 209 rural fires recorded in the Algarve, said Vítor Vaz Pinto during the assessment of the Safe Algarve programme.

According to data from the Algarve’s Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR), the vast majority of fires recorded in the Algarve caused less than one hectare of burnt area.  Most of the areas affected are described as “forest areas.”

The fire that broke out on the night of July 12 in Gambelas (Faro) consumed an area of around 700 hectares, and the estimated cost of the fire-fighting operation was around €262,000.

The fire in São Marcos da Serra (Silves) on July 25 destroyed 1.321 hectares, with the cost of the operation estimated to have been around €137.000.

According to Vítor Vaz Pinto, this was a summer with “greater operational demand”, with the number of monthly occurrences increasing by 19% about the average of the last five years.

According to the ANEPC regional commander, 98% of the fires registered in the region were dominated during the initial attack.

He also noted that 55% of the occurrences were “false alarms”, such as authorised burns.

The presentation session of the results of the Safe Algarve programme, which took place in the building of the Algarve Tourism Board, was chaired by the Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro.

Source: Lusa