Model saves 30 people from fire

With the overall fire situation looking marginally better this morning (Tuesday), extraordinary stories of last minute escape have started coming through – none more heartwarming than the account given by a model and wakeboard instructor who managed to save 30 people in her boat, with a capacity for just 15.

Cláudia Brum, 38, is on the front page of the nation’s best-read tabloid this morning, explaining how she plucked children, babies, parents and even a group of trainee priests from the jaws of a raging monster on Saturday afternoon at Castelo de Bode dam.

“We were surrounded by flames”, she tells CM. “There were children – some of them babies – adults and then a priest arrived with a group of seminarists. I put them all in the boat, and we fled.

“We were 30 people in a boat with capacity for 15. It was difficult as everyone was in panic and there was no visibility due to the smoke.

“There were no telephones, either”, she said – yet another indication of the extent to which telecommunications failures have made the situation this year even more complicated.

CM stresses that without Cláudia Brum’s quick-thinking, the situation would have been much worse.

Only metres away, a couple ended up suffering horrific burns – and due to the intensity of flames, there were no firefighters in the vicinity.

In all yesterday, Civil Protection registered 130 forest fires, 11 of which were posing the most problems at nightfall (click here).

This morning, the nation’s ‘worst incidents’ appear to be confined to five main areas in the districts of Porto, Castelo Branco and Santarém.

To follow today’s fire progress, see

In the last five days alone 48 people have been injured in the fires, three of them seriously. Among the injured are 28 firefighters, both men and women.

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Photo: Wake Villa Wakeboard School on a day when no-one was thinking about fires