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Fires in Madeira “under control” while mainland Portugal still struggles with major blazes

A week into Portugal’s wildfire drama, firefighters in Madeira are at last getting some respite, with all the major fires there now reported to be under control.

On the mainland however, the worst of the situation remains up north and active, with 72 fires currently burning.

Saturday lunchtime saw houses in the Viseu borough of S. Pedro do Sul circled by flames and at major risk due to winds.

National television stations have reported, it could just take a few minutes “if the wind changes” for several homes to be engulfed by flames, and as we wrote this update, CMTV was showing the residents of the village of Aldeia de Posmil in “absolute panic” as a veritable wall of fire began approaching.

Two firefighting planes are now dousing the worst of the advancing front with tons of water.

On balance however the situation nationally is starting to look better, and politicians are already talking about “the second phase” where they hope to draw up legislation to bring forestry management finally under better control.

Meantime, pledges of support for the broken populations of Madeira are coming in from all quarters. The Bishop of Fátima has promised €50,000 to help the hundreds of victims who have lost homes, cars, businesses and are struggling to imagine how they can build a future, while the Berardo Foundation says it will be giving the proceeds of its Bank Holiday takings on Monday (August 15) at Jardim Tropical Monte Palace.

Other offers of support have been coming in over the last few days as the price tag for ‘fixing’ Madeira has been logged at a minimum of €55 million.

For more updates, see the Portugal Resident over the weekend.