After a blistering summer in which the Algarve has escaped the worst of this year’s wildfires, today saw sirens blaring all over the Costa Vicentina as a major blaze broke out in rural Alfambras.
Within minutes firefighters were being called from every available town.
Aljezur’s fire station started its claxon calling volunteers as within minutes manpower was beefed to 107.
A Canadair plane has already flown two loads of water into the blaze, backed up by a firefighting helicopter.
The fire broke out shortly before 3pm this afternoon on a windless day marked by high temperatures.
Right now, the smoke is blowing white and markedly less high in the sky than it was half an hour ago, but the fire is still marked on official ‘fogos.pt’ website as being ‘in course’, while Civil Protection’s site reports that five aircraft are now involved. Manpower too has been upped to 121, backed by 29 vehicles.
Further north in Beja, there is another fire. It started roughly half an hour before the Alfambras blaze, but it is not as large and so far is not requiring the back up of firefighting planes.
As we write this text, more engines are streaming to the blaze site at Barranco da Vaca, possibly called in from nearby Odeceixe, and a second fire has been flagged slightly further south between Bensafrim and Barão de São João.
Whether the two fires are connected will no doubt emerge tomorrow.
UPDATE: Aljezur’s blaze drops from “in course” to “in resolution” within an hour-and-a-half. Beja too went ‘blue’ (the colour indicating the fire is under control). Bensafrim was still ‘in course’, later to be extinguished. By nightfall, the stench of burnt countryside around Barranco da Vaca was intense, and on Thursday morning a hot spot ignited, seeing firefighters return and stay in place while the outbreak was swiftly brought under control.
On Thursday afternoon, the fire was back in “conclusion” phase, though it is likely manpower and appliances will remain on site for the next few hours.