Updated: 7/24/2019 11:45:07 AM
More than 1,000 firefighters managed to bring a major wildfire in central Portugal under control on Tuesday, and the operation will carry on to avoid reignitions, officials said. After around 70 hours, the last of three wildfires that broke out on Saturday in Castelo Branco, a district 225 km northeast of Lisbon, is under control, with firefighters now keeping an eye on adverse weather conditions. So far, 41 people have received support from emergency services, including 16 people who suffered minor injuries and one who was in serious condition. Portugal’s Civil Protection department said some villagers had been evacuated as a precaution and houses had been destroyed.
Updated: 7/23/2019 12:01:58 PM
According to commander Belo Costa, who held a press conference this morning (Tuesday), the fire has been dominated across 90% of the area, however, while there is no active front, the remaining 10% contains a number of “worrying hotspots”. According to Belo Costa, the focus is now on “seizing good opportunities” during the morning in order to solve the situation of the “10% perimeter that needs to be consolidated to ensure the resolution of the fire”. The current fire hotspots are located in the northern part of the parish of Cardigos in the municipality of Mação and also in part of the municipality of Vila de Rei. If the conditions worsen and personnel fails to combat this final 10% of the fire in god time then "less pleasant situations" could arise he explained.
Updated: 7/22/2019 10:48:17 AM
More than 1,000 firefighters are tackling wildfires spreading in east Portugal, which have injured 30 people. Homeowners tried to protect their properties from the huge fires with buckets of water and hosepipes as strong winds fanned the winds on Sunday. Portugal's Civil Protection Authority said more than 1,150 firefighters were working to contain the blazes, which broke out on Saturday across three fronts in the district of Castelo Branco, 124 miles (200km) northeast of the capital Lisbon.
"The fire is out of control, without resources on the ground, and the population at risk," Vasco Estrela, the mayor of Macao, told Portuguese radio station TSF. "We never thought we would live through this again." Strong winds have made it more difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze, but authorities said they hoped to have them under control soon.
Updated: 7/21/2019 1:26:16 PM
The chaotic situation in Vila de Rei, Monção and Sertã has mobilized thousands of operatives to fight the flames.
Today (Sunday), firefighter Fábio Manuel Pelica, one of the firefighters who are fighting the fire in Vila de Rei, decided to turn to social networks, showed his lunch that revolted him. Together with a photograph of the food, Fábio left the following message:
"I leave the family, I leave the comfort of my home, I come to risk my life defending what does not belong to me. I leave home without running dinner, I spend the whole night fighting the flames and now, what they give me to eat is just this !!!! ??? I can not speak. It's the recognition they give us!
By Firefighter Fábio Manuel Pelica - Vila de Rei"
The photograph became viral and quickly began to rain comments in support of Fábio as well as all other Portuguese firefighters. (https://www.facebook.com/osnossosbombeiros/photos/a.1969963093239988/2488797371356555/?type=3&theater)
Updated: 7/21/2019 10:41:24 AM
Today, Sunday, the situation was still “far from under control”, said early reports. Strong winds have been fanning flames, increasing difficulties.
Last night, the word coming out of Vila de Rei – where the first blaze started – was that this fire was ‘uncontrollable’.
Over 800 firefighters are on the ground, backed by 250 appliances and 8 planes and helicopters.
For now, no homes appear to be ‘at risk’, though inhabitants of numerous villages have been battling through the night to keep their communities safe.
The other two fires in Sertã, have already been mastered
Published Sunday, July 21, 2019
In the large fire that deflagrates in Vila de Rei there are 822 operational firemen fighting the flames, accompanied by 251 land and 13 air means.
The fires in Sertã, Vila de Rei and Mação have already caused 20 injuries, of which eight are firefighters and 12 are civilians. One of the civilians was seriously injured and was hospitalized in an emergency at the São José Hospital in Lisbon, with a reserved prognosis, according to the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita.
In Vila de Rei, the fire that is most difficult to control, are 822 operational firefighters in the field, accompanied by 251 land and 13 air resources, according to the information revealed by the official website of Civil Protection.
Today, fire department operatives are prepared for a rather complicated day, with high temperatures and wind intensifying.
The fires of Sertã have already been dominated, nevertheless, the attentions turned towards the fire of Vila de Rei that has, on the morning of this Sunday, an active front with about 25 kilometers of extension. The large fire reaches the districts of Castelo Branco and Santarém.
Despite the strengthening of resources, the situation is still very complicated. Operating on the ground, they emphasize that "the fronts of Vila de Rei are still plowing with intensity," repeating the 2003 scenario. "It's just not as complicated due to the less severe weather," the fighters point out.
In the place of the fires are near 1500 firemen and a centralized command post, that works in the High School of the Sertã.
Portugal Vila de Rei fire Facts
Affected Area: 150 km.
Alert Level: Orange
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