Expert says “electrical accident” cause of major Portuguese wildfire

Expert says “electrical accident” cause of major Portuguese wildfire

19 January 2018

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PORTUGAL – LISBON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — The wildfire that raged around the Portuguese town of Lousa in October 2017 was caused by an “electrical accident”, an analyst revealed on Thursday.

Paulo Fernandes, a member of the independent technical commission responsible for identifying the reasons of last year’s fires, was speaking in the northern town of Vila Real at an event organized by Porto University. He told local reporters that the fire was caused by “a high tension cable hitting a tree or a tree falling on the cable.”

The commission had already reached the same conclusion about the forest fire that beset the Pedrogao Grande area in June 2017, claiming 66 lives.

Fernandes said such accidents “are relatively common on days with meteorological conditions like that.” It was excessively hot and windy at the time of both the Pedrogao Grande and Lousa tragedies.

The fire in Lousa was among the worst of hundreds of wildfires that erupted across Portugal on Oct. 15, 2017, killing 45. It required 700 firefighters to bring it under control.

Lousa is a town in the Coimbra district, 210 km north of Lisbon.

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