Monchique residents have been shocked to learn that the helicopter stationed near Caldas de Monchique for the past few years is relocating to Loulé. This will leave the mountains without any nearby aerial support to fight any forest fires that break out in the area, or in the Barlavento region.
Comandante Manuel Carvalho from Monchique bombeiros has expressed his concern about the relocation of the fire-fighting helicopter, pointing out that many areas in Monchique are so isolated that they can only be reached by air. “If any fires break out in these areas, the helicopter will have to fly from the Sotovento region and the delay could mean that it is harder to put out the flames,” Carvalho explained to The Resident.
Local resident, Sofia Ramalho said she experienced last years summer’s fires at first hand when flames surrounded her house. “It was terrifying. I remember sitting on top of a mountain with others that had been evacuated, watching our houses going up in flames. I remember the helicopter saved the rest of my house going up in flames. How are we supposed to cope if there is a repeat of last summer?” she questioned.