EIGHT MAJOR fires continued to rage and three municipal emergency plans had been activated. This was the frightening picture in central and north Portugal on Tuesday of this week, when this edition of The Resident was going to press, a situation that could yet worsen.
In total, 1,444 firemen, supported by 390 fire engines, were fighting blazes, along with nine military units in Caminha, Vila Praia de Âncora, Valongo, Paços de Sousa and Manteigas.
The fire in Pampilhosa da Serra (Coimbra district), which had already been burning for three days, continued to occupy firefighters. Reinforcements had already been sent, bringing the total number of men to 374 and the number of fire engines to 108.
The fire in Casal da Lapa (Pampilhosa da Serra), which had led the local authorities to request help from Spain in the form of a Canadair plane to fight the flames from the air, continued to occupy hundreds in a bid to bring the blaze under control. Local authorities had already activated the Plano Municipal de Emergência, the municipal emergency plan.
In Castelo Branco, which is located in the borough of Sertã, a fire continued to rage in the Serra da Santa forest and 153 firemen and 46 fire engines were involved in the fire fighting operation. According to the Serviço Nacional de Bombeiros e Protecção Civil (SNBPC), the national firefighting and civil protection service, at 7.30am on Tuesday morning, a fire which was consuming woodland in Lugar de São Mamede, Viana do Castelo, had also led local authorities to activate the Plano Municipal de Emergência. Fighting the flames in that area were 33 firemen and eight fire engines and, at the time of going to press, firefighting planes had not been put into action.
In the same district, forest was burning in Quinta do Socorro, in the borough of Caminha, and 27 local firemen were at work, supported by seven fire engines. In addition, woodland was on fire in Refoios do Lima, Ponte de Lima – 34 firemen and eight vehicles were involved in the emergency operation there.
Meanwhile, a new fire broke out in the district of Bragança, in Mogo de Malta, Carrazeda de Ansiães, a dangerous situation that also led to the activation of the municipal emergency plan. There, 32 firemen were attempting to put out the flames, with support from nine fire engines.
In the Porto district, another fire was raging in Fridão, Amarante, and was being fought by 46 firemen supported by 12 vehicles.
Finally, in the district of Viseu, a fire broke out in Carvalhal de Vermilhas, in the borough of Vouzela, and was being desperately fought by a total of 57 men with 15 fire engines.
Precautions to avoid
more fire outbreaks
The SNBPC is requesting that no fires should be lit in the countryside, that people take care when having barbecues and picnics, and that all work involving machinery that could produce sparks or flames is postponed. The warning calls extend to all those members of the population who smoke, not to discard smouldering cigarette butts, particularly out of car or train windows. The firefighters are also reinforcing the measure that it is obligatory to clear land and maintain a protection area around your home, at least a 50 metre boundary for each house.