A1, IC8, IC2 and N350 all with closures due to fires sweeping through Leiria

Various roads, including the A1, IC8, IC2 and the N350 are now closed on stretches that run through wildfire battered Leiria.

Television coverage has been showing areas where homeowners are battling advancing flames with hoses, apparently completely alone.

Thousands of firefighters are on the ground – but there simply aren’t enough of them.

Pedro Pimpão dos Santos, Mayor of Pomal has been interviewed on SIC notícias, stressing the need for more means, particularly air support.

Those fighting the various incidents are “exhausted”, he said – sounding every bit as wrung out himself. He described people with injuries, needing ambulances. “I am devastated”, he told the news anchor. “It is a desperate situation. There are isolated populations. We are not saving houses anymore, we are saving lives…”

The day began with the fires that had battered the region for the best part of five days in ‘resolution’… there was no active blaze in evidence, and then strong winds changed everything. The situation since has gone from bad to worse.

The road between Pombal and Ansião (IC8) is closed, in both directions: the IC2 and A1 between Pombal and Fátima are also blocked to traffic, again in both directions.

Leiria municipality has appealed to a number of populations to leave their homes and make their way to the municipal stadium – but many are refusing, as they want to try and protect their properties, particularly in the absence of sufficient numbers of firefighters.

There is no “prevision” (meaning no idea yet) when roads that have been closed will be reopened.

IPMA meteorological institute has 13 districts under red alert for wildfires (Viana do Castelo, Braga, Porto, Vila Real, Bragança, Guarda, Viseu, Aveiro, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Leiria, Santarém and Portalegre) – a situation unlikely to change over the next few days.