Rapid response by Algarve firefighters tackles Rasmalho blaze in two hours

Yet another “large blaze” broke out in the scarred countryside between Portimão and Monchique late on Monday afternoon – but thanks to incredibly quick response by firefighters from 11 corporations across the Algarve, the worst of it was over within two hours.

Three firefighting helicopters were dispatched within minutes of the alert going up just after 5pm, and their role was pivotal as flames raced towards scattered homes around the village of Rasmalho.

For now, there has been no information on what caused the fire, believed to have started on scrubland behind a petrol station.

As operational fire commander António Zua Coelho told television reporters who raced to the scene, the fact that the summer is over has not changed the Algarve’s situation of high fire risk.

Temperatures are still fairly high, “humidity is low during the day”, and land is still parched from months without any significant rainfall.

Homeowners who battled with hoses to help stave off yesterday’s advancing flames have talked of their horror as the fire developed.

“In 10 minutes, the flames came right to the door,” one told Correio da Manhã which reiterated people’s “praise for the work of the firefighters who were very rapid”.

In all, 124 operatives were involved, backed by 41 vehicles and three firefighting helicopters.

On Tuesday morning, 17 firefighters were still on hand in the area, performing “vigilance” to ensure none of the tackled areas reignited.

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