Fire risk ‘elevated and rising’

For now Portugal’s devastating wildfires are out and there are reinforced numbers of ‘boots on the ground’, but the risk of re-ignitions and new incidents remains extremely high, and is said to be rising.

Temperatures are on the increase – with a peak of up to 35ºC forecast for various areas over the weekend – and strong wind too is on the way.

Meteorologists are today reiterating warnings that Portugal is by no means out of the woods – despite the fact that we are now almost at the end of October.

The bottom line is that any forest fire that starts in today’s conditions could spread “with great rapidity and enormous dimension”, said a source for Civil Protection authority ANPC.

Highest risk areas include many municipalities in the Algarve (Aljezur, Monchique, Silves, Loulé, Alcoutim and Castro Marim), as well as Odemira and Almodôvar in the Alentejo, Marvão, Nisa and Gavião (Portalegre), Mação (Santarém), Vila Velha de Ródão and Penamacor (Castelo Branco), Sabugal, Pinhel, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Trancoso, Mêda, and Vila Nova de Foz Coa, (Guarda), Sernancelhe (Viseu), Freixo de Espada à Cinta (Bragança) and Arouca (Aveiro).

Populations are being advised to take “extra care” not to do anything that could spark a fire. This doesn’t just mean a moratorium on bonfires, bbq’s and the traditional ‘queimadas’ (fires for clearing land for new planting), but also on working with equipment that could create sparks in dry undergrowth.

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