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New horror as massive fire “appears suddenly” bearing down on Silves

After the nightmare of Thursday, in which the weekend’s Monchique wildfire reignited on three fronts, sweeping down the mountainside to threaten communities in neighbouring Portimão, a second significant blaze appeared out of nowhere bearing down on Silves shortly after 9pm last night.

With high winds making the situation even more difficult for exhausted firemen, the position at 6am this morning was that the Algarve is waking up, yet again, to serious blazes that are being battled now by everything the fire and civil protection services can throw at them.

The fronts still active around Monchique have a total of 602 operatives on the ground, backed by 195 vehicles, while in Silves 104 firefighters are in the ‘consolidation’ phase, with the aid of 36 engines – the fire, for now, brought under control.

As soon as first light appears, air support will be back, though in what numbers and where is yet to become clear.

Meantime, support for firemen from the local population has been overwhelming.

Throughout the Algarve, people have been dropping off the essentials:

(water (not bigger than 500 ml), energy-bar snacks, fruit juices, socks, towels, etc.)
at various fire stations and drop off points (click here), and today the word going out over social media is that firemen still need:

socks, particularly sizes 40-45, but also smaller ones for female firefighters. They also need boxer-type underwear (“not used, please”), talcum powder, biafine cream (or any other hydrating cream for burns) apples, bananas and shampoo.

Elsewhere, restaurants and bars are raising thousands of euros, which they vow to use to “supply the Bomberios with the needed supplies, for keeping us safe, and when this disaster is finished we will stock every station until the end of the fire season. Then we will look to the future and needed equipment”.

With a total of 30 fires active throughout the country, the situation in the Algarve is still critical, and anyone whose homes or property is not in areas of risk is advised to stay away, due to the need for clear access for emergency vehicles.

As yesterday, the Resident will be updating this story throughout the day in the hope that this time we will be able to close our updates with news of an all-clear.

So far, incredibly, there are no reports of any serious injuries or of any homes having been destroyed.

As for the reasons behind this latest blaze, arson once again appears likely. Investigations are underway.

UPDATE 9am:

Two fronts still active in and around Monchique, with firefighters busy trying to secure the Algarve International Autodrome.

Silves fire considered “in conclusion”, with just over 100 men still on the ground and no requirement for now for air support.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

PHOTO posted on Facebook, by Bruno Gonçalves