Madeira fires update – Saturday

I had hoped to be more positive today – bad news has to end sometime and we all move on. For the sake of the island it is important that Madeira’s image is not tarnished by the potential holidaymaker perceiving that the island is not safe to visit. Equally it is important that the news is related accurately.

Firstly, therefore, I have been up to Palheiro Gardens and Golf Club today and I have to say that we are looking at a miracle. From Funchal the scenes on Wednesday night guaranteed that the area was completely destroyed. Today it is fully functional with just a few fires smouldering in areas adjacent to the golf course. Will report in more detail on this in the next few days.

Arson suspected

Latest from the Diario today: This afternoon a Russian tourist found between the area of ​​Poiso and Ribeiro Frio what he believes is a rudimentary kit to set fire to the hills, made with a bottle of brandy, a box of matches and a cigarette. The assembly was placed next to a tree and aroused the curiosity of Ganushkim Nikita, who immediately contacted the Ribeiro Frio authorities and a ranger attended. The combination was simple, he told the Diario, but was intended to make fire – the Russian was walking in the locality with his wife and did not see anyone else. There was a cigarette lying on a box of matches very close to a tree, in the opinion of the tourist, to give time for the person could get away.

Meantime the man suspected of starting the forest fire in the municipality of São Vicente, will be released pending trial subject to daily presentations to the authorities, according to a source in the Judicial Police

This morning the fire (above) which is seriously affecting zona dos Moinhos (Caniço) is reported to be getting out of control, with the fire “assuming worrying dimensions and the population to panic. The trees are on fire, flames approaching at a rapid pace of housing and the inhabitants who, with hoses, trying to wet the walls and roofs of the houses to avoid the worst. The on-site facilities are clearly insufficient to halt the might of flames is getting out of control, with the fire assuming worrying dimensions and the population to panic. The trees are on fire, flames approaching at a rapid pace of housing and the inhabitants who, with hoses, trying to wet the walls and roofs of the houses to avoid the worst. The on-site facilities are clearly insufficient to halt the might of flames”.

Finally, as a general comment, I have to record that whoever you talk to on the island today they are convinced that this whole series of events are deliberate arson.

Going forward

I really hope to be winding these reports down now. After covering the floods just over two years ago and now this, it can be perceived that you are not promoting the island as much as some would wish – these are people who want to bury their head in the sand and ignore true events, and just hope they will go away. I was asked to do an interview on the BBC last night and was quizzed how holiday-makers would feel when they saw their destination on fire as their plane descended  – and how they would react. I was pleased to report that all the new arrivals I have met over the last few days have been brilliant – more concerned about the island, it’s inhabitants and the environment than any negative impact on their holiday.

12 thoughts on “Madeira fires update – Saturday”

  1. Most decent, thinking, intelligent holidaymakers will understand that the people who look after them in their hotels are likely to be directly affected by the fires, and have a large measure of compassion for what they’re going through. This will probably be their first thoughts. Secondary, will be that they’ll look forward to the islands recovery both ecologically and financially, and that the island can show resolve, and toughness in bouncing back the way you have so many times before, the way you did after the floods,the way you did after previous bush fire disasters.
    We were walking the Paradise Valley Levada (with Madiera Exlorers) onlya week ago on 13th July…our hearts go out to the local residents after seeing the footage on this site and others but we will be back in 2013.

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  2. Madeira has its seasonal wild fires, but the heart of Madeira is still there, with all main tourist area and sites mainly unaffected. In Funchal the fish mongers and vegetable stores are still trading with the tourists who are happy taking their pictures.
    Stroll down the busy mosaic tiled streets, in the sun shine, and you pass people sitting in the shade drinking coffee, or tasting Madeira wine. With old men playing cards or dominos while chatting and lazy street dogs chilling in the shade. With women in traditional dress, selling flowers, along with the fruit vendors stalls. Also it’s many gardens and parks with flowers in full bloom and the trees in all their glory, with visitors amazed at what they see. Mountains and hills and levadas are still there, with its waterfalls and trout farms. The chair lifts taking people to Monte and back. People still swim in its blue sea, or fishing from its shores. You can still go out on a boat and look at the different sea life in its waters. The spirit of community of the Madeiran people in times of adversity is amazing, and their warmth and generosity is there for all to see. This is Madeira, in its all different colours. Everyone welcome!

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  3. Well said peter and Steve. I love the island and have many friends in Madeira. Its the best place in the world to live in my opinion. When I retire I would love to spend more time in Madeira.

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  4. I too have many friends in madeira and go there very often at least 6 weeks of the year hopefully more when I retire. Also have made friends that holiday at the same time and also love madeira. Nothing would stop me from going back. The people and the island are so nice . Always their for new year it’s the best place to be.

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  5. My thoughts go out to everyone who have been affected by these dreadful fires. It’s appalling to think they may have been started deliberately.

    Nevertheless, I am looking forward to my first holiday on Madeira soon and I hope to find everyone safe and secure.

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  6. We will be still be arriving next Monday, our help will be to put money into the Madeiran economy instead of cancelling. Hope for Madeira the fires start to die soon.

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  7. We Will be arriving tomorrow for our annual visit to such a beautiful island and will be doing the same as above. Any help we can give, we will . It is tragic that someone would do this.

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  8. Like others we too will be coming later this year as usual, have been coming annually (latterly twice a year) since 1989. Just wish there was something practical we could do now to help. Beautiful island, lovely hard working people,they need all the support they can get.

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  9. I was so sad to hear about the fires in Madeira but am relieved that things are getting back to normal. My husband and I will be holidaying on this beautiful island for the second time at the end of August and we can’t wait. Although we live in the beautiful Algarve I especially wish that we had made our home in Madeira. Best wishes to all who have been affected by the fires and well done to everyone involved in putting them out.

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  10. I left Madeira just before the fires started & only wish I had more holiday time left this year, I would be straight back. Like so many others on this site my first thoughts are for the people of Madeira, who have made my many holidays there so enjoyable.
    Already booked twice for next year. I’m sure the resilience of the Madeiran people
    will prevail & nothing would stop me visiting again an again !

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  11. We are coming as usual on 14th and also will do our best to support their economy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the residents we have got to know over the years.

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