Tuesday’s firefighting “will require a lot of attention and effort”
Firefighters’ work carried out last night, combatting the rural fire that has kept populations in Odemira, Aljezur and Monchique on their toes since last Saturday, seems to have allowed a “stabilisation of the fire perimeter”, according to Civil Protection this morning, albeit there are still two critical points of concern.
The Alentejo’s regional emergency and civil protection commander, José Ribeiro, told a briefing: “We maintain two critical points: one to the north, in the Defeira area, which inspires a lot of concern, and also to the south, on the front facing Monchique”.
These two points of the fire that began in Baiona, within the parish of São Teotónio, “will require a lot of attention and effort from operatives throughout the day”, he said, stressing the forecast is for continuing high temperatures and wind.
Ribeiro added that, after operations yesterday, which prioritised the defence of populations, today’s strategy” will be more focused on suppressing the fire itself”.
The good news is that the blaze that broke out in Aljezur’s Bordeira area on Monday has already been brought under resolution.
Winds should be turning south today, which works in Aljezur and Monchique’s favour, and to a large extent helps Odemira as well, as flames will be pushed back on land already burnt.
A lot more can happen over the course of this afternoon. But the ‘mood’ is more positive somehow, and firefighter numbers are up to 900 (subsequently beefed even further to over 1,000), backed by over 300 appliances and 10 air support.
Sadly the optimism of this morning is fading: wind speeds have picked up significantly and there are problems with reignitions. Monchique (parish of Marmelete) is on high alert; the horizon viewed from high points in Aljezur has returned to showing various “hot points”, with smoke billowing up into the misty sky. Temperatures too appear to be rising.
New dangers: wind is due to turn this evening from south to north (northwest). Reporters on SIC explain if the situation bearing down now on locations like Maria Vinagre is not brought under control swiftly, the fire could suddenly pick up force in the direction of Aljezur and many homes/ businesses.