The fire in São Marcos da Serra, Silves - Photo: Craig Rogers

Over 200 firefighters battle blaze in Silves

Updates below:

A fire broke out in São Marcos da Serra in the municipality of Silves shortly after 1pm this afternoon.

Over 200 firefighters are battling the flames, aided by five firefighting aircraft.

The blaze started in the small rural area of Fica Bem, according to civil protection authorities.

Firefighters are attempting to stop the flames from reaching a series of powerlines in the area, CNN Portugal reports.

Despite the scorching temperatures in São Marcos da Serra this afternoon (around 40ºC), the good news is that the wind is not blowing with great intensity, which will hopefully aid firefighting attempts.

Update (July 25, 4.50pm): 330 firefighters, 105 vehicles and nine aircraft battle the flames.

Updates 8pm: blaze still going far too strong, fanned by wind; villagers evacuated from two small villages; fire moving north (into Beja district), into even more difficult terrain; land-clearing machines working flat-out to try and stop further spread, particularly into Loulé borough. “Much too much combustible material” feeding this fire, explain reporters on ground, indicating that land clearing policies are still far from ideal. Night will be long for firefighters; over 400 currently at work backed by seven air support that will have to give up for the night very soon.

Updates 10pm: over 500 firefighters at work backed by 192 appliances; blaze still threatening villages/ outlying homes (inhabitants evacuated). Authorities described as “worried by projections” which are threatening a move into borough of Loulé, as well as into next-door Lower Alentejo district. Fire active on two fronts. Traffic ‘conditioned’ on various roads, including IC1 and A2.