The Diario reports that the President of the Civil Protection Service in Madeira says that now, after a week of fighting fires on the island and although there are still two fires burning, "the situation tends to normality."
Luis Neri told the Lusa news agency that this morning there is a focus on Lombo Barreto, in the concelho de Santa Cruz, "which is being fought" by the firefighters of the corporation of the town. The fire in Achadas da Cruz, in the concelho do Porto Moniz, has caused more concern in the last two days as there had been a continuation of outbreaks, but this is “being operated upon and controlled."
"The fires that emerged in the municipality of Machico are extinguished and the remaining areas, including the Middle and High Serras of Santo António and Canico are just under surveillance," he said.
The fire that continues to plague the highlands of Caniçal gives no respite. The difficulties of access affect the fire-fighting and although not yet prove a threat to people but the flames continue to move forward and have already reached Pico Castanho, no sítio do Pastel in Ribeira Seca area overlooking the city of Machico: (photo: Luis Silva)
Luis Neri said that the area of Achadas da Cruz is posted practically the same resources that was in the area Sunday – about eight dozen men and a dozen vehicles, adding that "a group of 50 fire-fighters of the contingent that came from the mainland will go to the site this morning to cleaning operations. "
"The means which are in places is more an attitude of vigilance and everything indicates that the situation in the region is moving towards normalcy," he said.
The fires have emerged in various locations in Madeira since the early hours of Tuesday with the most critical cases in the districts of Funchal, Santa Cruz, Calheta, and Porto Moniz Ribeira Brava. Dozens of homes and vehicles have been totally or partially destroyed by fire and hundreds of people evacuated. The Portuguese Ministry of Internal Affairs sent a group of more than 80 men from the mainland, including elements of the FEB (Special Forces Fire) and GIP’s (Intervention Group Standing) GNR to support the firefighters of Madeira
The Judicial Police have arrested a suspect in the municipality of San Vicente and found some torches in the area of Camacha as there are increasing suspicions of arson.
40 houses consumed and 120 homeless in Santa Cruz parish
Photo Helder Santos / ASPRESS
Late this morning the Santa Cruz Fire Department and the municipal executive met with some of Parish Councils – Gaula, Camacha and Santo da Serra. There is to be a thorough screening of weakened concrete and a lot of damage in order to be determine "the listing of the damage," but it is thought that two thirds of the area of the county may have been affected by fire. Certainly some of the scenes of devastation from the Via Rapida are appalling.
President calls on population to draw important lessons
The consequences of the fires that ravaged Madeira dominated the discourse of Alberto Joao Jardim, this afternoon at the opening of six new pavilions built in the Business Park Machico.
Even with smoke coming from the hillside across the valley of Machico, the president of the Government challenged the people to "draw very important lessons" of what happened in several places. Particularly alerted to the issue of abandonment of land and its liability to third parties. "The people responsible for the existence of brush around their homes or some of their land, these people have a moral responsibility to the community to proceed with the cleanup of these lands." Even worse when they reject help because "it is not permissible that in recent years has past, there availability of forest services to go there for free clean land and people do not want to let go, because a serotinous concept of private property and fear of public ownership, prevents the entry of such services " denounced.
For those missing Jon and Debs erudite wit and well informed comment I can confirm that all is well but they have been without means of communication for some while having been in one of the worst affected areas during the latter stages of the fires. I will let Jon update you when they are back “on-line”.