Image: Nuno André Ferreira/ Lusa

More than 1,000 firefighters battle new fires in Serra da Estrela

Flames showing “violent behaviour”

Just as experts and politicians were admitted to the appalling damage already inflicted by wildfires over Serra da Estrela, a new blaze appeared out of nowhere on Sunday afternoon and rapidly gained dimension – to the point it was described by nightfall as ‘uncontrollable’.

Today, there are over 1,000 firefighters already ‘battling on the ground’: the scope of this fire includes three municipalities: Guarda, Manteigas and Covilhã. Further firefighting response is expected to be drafted in throughout the day.

The only ‘positive element’ in firefighters’ favour is that temperatures are falling slightly; there is more humidity in the atmosphere. Whether this can help make a dent on what Civil Protection commander André Fernandes has described as “the elevated intensity” of flames and “violent behavior” of the various fronts, remains to be seen.

This new incident started with three simultaneous ignitions in Vale de Amoreira, in Manteigas (Guarda district). It literally romped into neighbouring boroughs, causing villages to be evacuated and widespread panic. There was a moment last night where ‘the theatre of operations’ lost contact with two firefighting teams, but this seems to have been more down to a failure in communications than anything more serious.

Updates to come.

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