View last night of skyline looking north from Aljezur
View last night of skyline looking north from Aljezur

1,400 evacuated as Odemira blaze bears down on Aljezur

Monchique also potentially under threat; second blaze in Bordeira with wind pushing flames south

Around 1,400 people were evacuated today from various parts of São Teotónio parish and the Algarve border in Aljezur municipality.

Social media posts have been appealing for temporary access to space for caravans as the municipality of Odemira announced that populations being displaced should make for the town’s secondary school (Escola EB 2,3 São Teotónio).

Traffic on the EN120 leading to Odemira/ Cercal has been blocked, including access to municipal roads.

The overriding message is that no-one should be driving in the vicinity of these fires unless it is to evacuate.

Police visited industrial areas this afternoon, advising garages to remove cars and combustible material to areas least exposed.

Yesterday saw roughly 100 people evacuated from four locations, but there have been many more in terms of campers/ holidaymakers/ people living in ‘alternative structures’ on their own land, and villagers now from São Miguel, on the Alentejo/ Algarve border.

Aljezur expats social media platform is trying to find safe spaces for those forced to evacuate. Anyone in this predicament should get in touch.

Water supplies to São Teotónio are also affected due to the network being used to fill up fire engines, etc.

Odemira municipality announced that a number firefighters have suffered light injuries so far. There have been no injuries to civilians, said the municipality, but subsequent reports talk of four people being hospitalised. It is unclear whether these were firefighters or civilians (Update: three were firefighters, one a civilian. In all 22 injuries have been reported, most light)

As the situation seems to lurch dramatically for the worse, the local animal shelter in Aljezur has been appealing to people to help with the possible evacuation of cats and dogs.

A second fire broke out in Bordeira during the early afternoon, with the winds fanning flames northwards, towards areas with numerous houses.

Explains SIC noticias, the issue now is that authorities are being forced to accept that many more populations could be under threat.

The fire is not reacting ‘favourably’ to the efficiency described by government minister José Luís Carneiro earlier today.

Fires are not simply inside Aljezur territory, they are also bearing down on Monchique – the latter being firefighters’ ‘worst nightmare’, due to the density of forests in that northern zone of the municipality. But if the wind keeps up the way it is right now, Monchique may be spared from any damages.

It is all a question, yet again, of “the next few hours being decisive”, with Odemira’s blaze back on three fronts (one front was pronounced extinct yesterday), two of which are described this afternoon as heading deeper towards Aljezur. ND