Monchique fire: Over 1000 firemen and women still tackling massive Monchique fire

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 06-08-2018 13:00:00 · 0 Comments
Monchique fire: Over 1000 firemen and women still tackling massive Monchique fire

Over 1000 firemen and women are still tackling the massive fire in the Monchique region of the Algarve, on the northern side of the mountain-range that borders with the Alentejo, which has raged on relentlessly for four days. The vast fire has several fronts, two of which, in Silves and near the Monchique Caldas, are now believed to be under control.

Two aircraft from Spain joined the firefighting efforts Monday afternoon, while other aircraft were slow to get off the ground Monday morning due to the thick smoke. Two hotels have been evacuated, a number of homes perished in the fire, 24 people have been injured and 44 required assisstance.

Addressing reporters earlier Monday morning, the State Secretary for Civil Protection said: “at this moment, the Spanish Government has already made available two Canadairs”.

Monday morning, the air contingent was unable to act because of the intense smoke generated by the fire, but was expected to start operating as soon as the smoke dissipated, said the second district operating commander, Abel Gomes.

The lack of visibility also made it difficult for authorities to assess the areas affected by fire, and who early this morning carried out a reconnaissance flight over the Monchique mountain range.

"Aerial reconnaissance did not allow us to see much of what we wanted to see in detail because the smoke would not allow it. We did a much broader recognition than what the target was in terms of distance," he said.

Asked by journalists about the protection of housing given the advancing of the fire, Artur Neves said that protecting peoples’ lives took priority over houses, and admitted some properties have been affected.

At 12pm on Monday, day four of the fire-fighting efforts, the fire in Monchique was being fought by 1,160 operating, supported by 357 vehicles.

The fire situation there at the very start of this week was described as being "much more favourable", but remains "very sensitive", with several "hot spots" causing concern to the rescue and security forces.

During the small hours of Monday morning, the right flank of the fire was progressing towards the Caldas de Monchique and the left flank in the direction of São Marcos da Serra, with part of the head of the fire progressing southwards to the Estrada Nacional (EN) 124, in Silves, with "several projections towards the Caldas de Monchique and Barranco do Barreiro, which caused many complicated situations”.

However, the head of the Silves fire brigade told The Portugal News at around 10am Monday morning that the Silves front was under control.

At a last review, 44 people needed assistance, 31 of them Civil Protection agents and 13 civilians. The fire has so far caused a total of 25 injured people from scattered locations, of whom only a 72-year-old woman is in critical condition and was transported to the Hospital de São José in Lisbon.


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