With Portugal’s central and northern districts still dogged by wildfires fanned by blazing temperatures, a 73-year man has been discovered burnt to death near the village of Terreira das Bruxas, Sabugal (Guarda).
According to reports, he died “trying to flee” a wildfire caused by the traditional practice of burning agricultural land to get it ready for new planting.
It is not clear whether the dead man was responsible for the “queimada”.
His body was discovered earlier this morning, and the fire is now in the “conclusion phase”, reports Jornal de Notícias.
The picture nationally is still dire, though fires website fogos.pt has reduced yesterday’s number of six “significant occurrences” to three after a truly terrible weekend.
Nonetheless, hundreds of exhausted firefighters are still in place at dozens of blaze sites, all at varying stages of conclusion.
Over 600 remain fighting the fire at Pampilhosa da Serra, which began on Friday night (click here) and continues to be the worst of the situations under attack by countless vehicles backed by air support.
With the country’s fires back in national headlines, an extraordinary phenomenon has plunged them into the international spotlight.
Caught on camera in Arganil (caught up in the Pampilhosa da Serra fire) and publicised across the globe, the “fire devil” is a phenomenon when “flames are caught up in dust and wind”.
In spite of Portugal’s history of wildfires, ‘fire devils’ are still something of a rarity here.
As the Daily Mail explained: “Fire devils are created when a wildfire or firestorm creates its own wind, which then morphs into a vortex of fire”.
Here, commentators over social media have explained that fire devils are termed “firenados (fire tornados)” in the United States.
Said one: “I saw several fighting forest fires in Pacific NorthWest …knee-buckeling scary and fantastic to see….from a distance”.
Captured by TVI, the fire devil video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77ecxDbWNAw.
This has been the worst year in living memory for fire tragedies. In June, 64 people died in the fires of Pedrógão Grande and many others were injured. Over three months since the horrors, promised financial help has failed to come through while a public ministry investigation is purported to be ‘almost ready’ with charges involving negligent homicide ((click here).
Image circulating over the internet, captured by TVI on Saturday night (October 7)