Fire update: government reopens 72 forest look-out posts as firefighters dodge death in separate accidents in Arganil

The good news today is that the monster fire of Pampilhosa da Serra, started around 11pm on Friday night, has finally been dominated.

The major fires said to be blazing in Portugal this morning are also down to just four “significant occurrences”, according to national website

But the best news of all is that the government has accepted that the habitual cut-off date for manning forest look-out posts came far too soon this year. Over 70 posts have thus been reopened, while contracts with flying companies that provide air support have been extended to the end of October.

Habitually, firefighting expenses reduced dramatically on September 30 – the end of critical fire period, Phase Charlie.

But this year temperatures have stayed at record highs, and as we have seen for the past week, this has brought a new wave of wildfires.

The Pampilhosa blaze has consumed hundreds of hectares of forestland, final tallies of which will emerge in the next few days.

But the worst of it has been additions to this year’s dismal death toll – now up to 67, reports Correio da Manhã – and serious injuries suffered by firefighters.

Yesterday, in Arganil – close to the start-site of Pampilhosa, two firemen “escaped death” when the vehicle they were travelling in came off the road, plunging 20 metres into a gully.

One of the injured managed to get out under his own steam, but the other had to be cut out of the vehicle and airlifted to hospital where he is reported to be in a “serious condition”.

Today five further firefighters were injured in another traffic incident in Arganil, two of them seriously.

More details to follow.

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