Image: Nuno André Ferreira/ Lusa

Serra da Estrela fire: “Another long day ahead”

… but morning starts with feeling of calm

The situation of raging inferno that returned to Serra da Estrela over the long weekend is “much more calm this morning”. Pockets of fire still ‘active’ are in places surrounded already by burnt areas, thus the belief is they will be much more easy to bring under control.

The only front left is in Castelo Branco.

That said this has been the worst fire disaster in decades, if not living memory. Over 17,000 hectares had already been lost when the fire was declared extinct after a week of combat. Now, no-one seems sure how many more have been burnt black…nor how many ‘unique’ or heritage species have been lost in what is still a UNESCO natural park.

The acrid smoke and smell of fire has already reached well into Spain. There is talk of people smelling fire as far away as Madrid…

Hopes today are that closure is drawing near. Air support returned to the skies at 8am. Temperatures during the night helped the 1,300 firefighters on the ground – the worry being that the weather is due to take another turn for ‘the worst’, in terms of fire risks..

Meteorologist Alessandro Marraccini has told Diário de Notícias that from tomorrow, maximum temperatures will be increasing again to the point that Friday could see large swathes of the country experiencing 40ºC heat again – and this will bring new nightmare for authorities in every district.

Portugal is nowhere near ‘out of the woods’ yet.

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