Image: Nuno André Pereira/ Lusa

Serra da Estrela blaze finally dominated

Energy released energy equivalent of 25 atomic bombs on scale of Hiroshima

With the Serra da Estrela wildfire finally dominated after a week of inferno, the ‘mopping up operation’ will now get started in earnest.

This incident was one of the longest forest fires ever to have been recorded in Portugal – as well as being one ‘full of doubts and recriminations’ when it comes to firefighting strategy and decision-making.

All involved agree a full investigation must now follow.

But the good news is that in spite of so many ‘hiccups’ and moments where nothing went to plan, Civil Protection commander Miguel Cruz seems confident the end has been reached.

He told reporters today that the energy released by this fire was equivalent to 25 atomic bombs on the scale of Hiroshima.

It was at last night’s final press briefing that Cruz announced the fire had been ‘dominated’. Over 1,400 firefighters backed by hundreds of appliances and five air support will remain in active duty throughout today. If all goes well, the inference was that the fire was well on the way to be declared ‘extinct’.

Today, the official pro.civ website has dropped all mention of it (as has fogos.pt), thus the rain of last night may have contributed to speeding up the fires’ final moments.

The worst of this blaze is still a long way from over in terms of calculating damages, which ‘guardians of the Serra’ say are incalculable.

UNESCO experts will be on the ground eventually. It is unlikely that the Serra’s World Heritage status will be removed any time soon, but depending on the long-term damage, this possibility remains an option.

“Everything depends on how Nature manages to recover from this attack”, says tabloid Correio da Manhã this morning, stressing that even if the Serra holds on to its coveted UNESCO classification, “it will never return to the way it was before the night of August 6, 2022”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com