Vila Real wildfire brought under control after destroying 4,500 hectares

Update: Firefighters are battling two reignitions this morning. Over 320 firefighters remain deployed to the area.

Firefighters succeeded at around 8.30pm last night in bringing the Vila Real wildfire under control, despite several reignitions during the day.

The fire is described on Portugal’s civil protection website as “in resolution” – the stage when the fire is no longer considered to be a threat outside of the perimeter it has already affected.

Over 300 firefighters are still in place, nonetheless, to completely extinguish the flames and make sure any reignitions are promptly dealt with.

Authorities believe the blaze – which broke out on Sunday near Samardã, a village which at one point was completely surrounded by flamesdestroyed over 4,500 hectares of land, including parts of the Natural Park of Alvão. However, only once the blaze is completely extinguished will authorities accurately determine the affected area.

“These are complicated fires, not only due to their size but the areas where they develop” said national civil protection commander André Fernandes.

Six people sustained minor injuries due to the fire – five firefighters and one civilian.

The biggest challenge on Monday were the several reignitions, all of which were “quickly” tackled by firefighters on the ground and firefighting aircraft, according to Vila Real mayor Rui Santos.

“There were one or two more complex reignitions, but the fact that we were able to count on these aircraft allow us to act quickly,” he said on Monday at a press briefing at 5pm.

Another wildfire is also being battled in Vila Real – more specifically in Mesão Frio – by 85 firefighters this Tuesday morning, but it is affecting a relatively small area and is not concerning authorities. It is the only active fire that is not yet under control at the moment in Portugal.

By Michael Bruxo

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