LISBON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- A total of 119 suspects have been arrested for the crime of arson this year as serious fires hit Portugal due to a heat wave and severe drought, causing consequences for agriculture and other primary supply systems.
"We have this year a detention rate that is already much more than double that of the previous years" as a result of inspection work carried out jointly by the military police, the National Republican Guard, and the Judiciary Police, said Portuguese Minister of Internal Administration Jose Luis Carneiro on Sunday.
Speaking at an event in the city of Leiria, central Portugal, Carneiro revealed that "other investigations are underway to detect the causes of other fires, which could lead to other arrests."
This year, the government strengthened "the inspection and surveillance mechanisms," in conjunction with the Air Force, in addition to installing 230 fixed lookout posts and video surveillance, the minister added.
Carneiro expressed "unconditional" solidarity with the firefighters who fight the fires.
According to the Portuguese law, forests are not allowed to be used for construction or other usage.