The extraordinary work of our firefighters was put on display once again when a major fire that broke out on Monday afternoon in São Marcos da Serra (Silves) was brought under control in just over five hours.
The blaze started shortly before 3pm near Monte Ruivo, a small town near the IC1 road, and raged with great intensity during the afternoon. At one point, it had three active fronts. However, it was declared contained by 10.20pm.
One fireman was injured in the firefighting efforts, having suffered first-degree burns, said a source from the regional emergency operations command (CDOS).
“It was nerve-wracking at times,” said Craig Rogers, a wildlife and nature photographer from Wales who lives in the area and prepared to evacuate in the case the flames approached his property.
Craig, who is part of the committee of the Forest Fire Alert association, kept an eye on the fire throughout the day, keeping his friends and family updated on his Facebook page.
“Luckily, the fire broke out in an uninhabited area,” he told us, adding however that at times the flames started spreading rapidly towards small populations.
“The area is so hilly that the Bombeiros couldn’t get to some of the parts that were burning,” Craig told us.
Seven citizens were evacuated from Corte Mourão as a “precaution” while the population of Águas Velhas was told to remain in their homes as a safety measure, authorities revealed.
Nonetheless, the tireless work of the over 200 firefighters who tackled the flames resulted in the blaze being brought under control by nightfall.
As Craig spoke to us on Wednesday morning, a group of firefighters still remained at the site to make sure there aren’t any flare-ups.
So far, there has been no mention of the cause of the fire, which consumed scrubland and vast areas of cork oak and eucalyptus trees.
It was the Algarve’s second major wildfire this season and came just over two weeks after a massive blaze broke out in the Western Algarve, described as the worst forest fire the coastal Algarve has seen in years.
Here at the Algarve Resident we have an ongoing GoFundMe campaign in aid of the Liga dos Bombeiros Portugueses (Portuguese Firefighters League). Entitled ‘Portugal’s Fire Heroes Appeal’, the goal is to ensure the wellbeing of our firefighters during another challenging fire season.
Our goal is to reach the target of €20,000. Any donation, no matter how large or small, will be crucial to the safety and wellbeing of firefighters.
Our fundraiser can be found online at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/portugal039s-fire-heroes-appeal?fbclid=IwAR0-5lTn8SJGDYFYsz8A9KegHA1O9R2fIKC52mYXHCVCLdea16r4HEWVb8c
Photo: CRAIG ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY