wildfires in Portugal
Image: Nuno André Ferreira/ Lusa

High winds, intense heat, complicated fires: Monday morning update

“We will continue with this raging heat for another 2 – 3 days”

With no immediate respite in the ‘higher than average temperatures’, even for this time of year – taking many regions into the low to mid-40ºCs today – the already complicated situation of wildfires is being further exacerbated by strong winds.

Over 1,000 firefighters are tackling blazes from Odemira in the south to Ourém and Mangualde in the centre of the country – and certainly in Odemira, the dark cloud over the blaze site has grown markedly since early this morning.

Meteorologists warn extremely high temperatures will be affecting the mainland for the next two to three days ‘at least’.

The government is pondering calling a ‘State of Alert’, due to increased fire risks. It is a  mechanism that allows more controls over populations/ activities with the intention of reducing fire risks to the minimum.

Various municipalities affected by fires have already actioned their own ‘emergency plans’ – again with the same focus as a national ‘State of Alert’ – they simply allow more controls over people’s activities at a time when the slightest lack in attention (the flick of a cigarette; the dropping of a ‘fag end’; the backfiring of an old car) can prompt a galloping inferno.

The most worrying blazes today continue to be Odemira/ São Teotónio – where flames have ‘leapt borough boundaries’ into the municipality of Aljezur, albeit without too much effect yet – and Ourém.

Firefighting aerial support is up over both.

As civil protection sources stressed yesterday, “the next few hours will be decisive”: none of it is looking good but “the strategy remains the same”.

Shortly after this text was uploaded, Aljezur fire station sounded its alarm over the town. This is sounded to call in all volunteer firefighters whether they are on duty, or otherwise. The blaze in the borough of Odemira has become a blaze now in the borough of Aljezur  ND