Fires ease

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 19-07-2012 10:29:00 · 32 Comments
Fires ease

Fire-fighters in central and eastern Algarve and Madeira have won the battle against the blazes that have raged since last week.

While fires in the Algarve were under control, a total of 417 fire-fighters are remaining in high risk areas with fears that new fires might start.

In Madeira, local law enforcement authorities have said this morning they have no doubt that most, if not all, the fires recorded on the island-region since Wednesday were ignited by arsonists.

On Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday morning, around 100 people, mainly elderly citizens, from the outskirts of São Brás, had to be evacuated from their homes. At least 30 people are being temporarily accommodated in the town’s Santa Casa da Misericórdia institution with more people being expected there during the course of today.

Many of the elderly evacuees believe their homes and livelihoods, including farm animals and land, have perished.

Even though the region of São Brás is presently battling the lion’s share of the blaze, Tavira Mayor Jorge Botelho criticised the decision to move fire-fighters away from his municipality to neighbouring São Brás, describing the situation in his city as "very serious".

Fire-fighters have been desperately trying to control the eastern Algarve inferno since it broke out on Wednesday (18 July), the day after what was the hottest day of the year so far (Tuesday, 17 July).

Thirteen aircraft including two Spanish planes, amphibian places and helicopters are now involved in fighting the blaze, which has been steadily expanding since Wednesday. Increasingly exhausted fire-fighters are struggling to bring it under control.

More than 700 firemen and woman and 30 GNR officers are among the 1,040 bodies officially drafted in to try and bring the devastating blaze to a head, aided by 260 fire engines and other vehicles.

A dense veil of smoke can be seen hanging over the eastern Algarve from as far away as Boliqueime (central Algarve), bathing the inland skyline in an eerie rusty-pinkish light. Vast swathes of country throughout the adjoining municipalities of Tavira and São Brás (Faro) have already been scorched.

Passengers flying into Faro Airport in recent nights have described the view on approach to landing as “volcanic.”

Meanwhile in Madeira funds have been made available to compensate farmers who lost vast areas of land in equally worrying fires dotted from east to west of the island as fire-fighters there also struggle to contain and extinguish the situation.


Thedora Juskiw wrote:
Botelho was on SIC TV being interveiwed re the fires, not seen him around since the Election. Although Macario had his faults he was seen in and around Tavira in non emergency situations also.

------- Macario was about the villages so much even our dog knew him by sight -------

by Dino from Algarve on 25-07-2012 12:58:00

Botelho was on SIC TV being interveiwed re the fires, not seen him around since the Election. Although Macario had his faults he was seen in and around Tavira in non emergency situations also.
To all the Bomberios and Volunteers thank you so much

by Thedora Juskiw from Algarve on 24-07-2012 01:04:00

God Bless all the firefighters for their efforts and fight. You have saved my fathers island and my family, thank you so very much

by Adriana deFrance from USA on 23-07-2012 03:23:00

We have just come back from Spain, via Faro airport. As we were taking off at 10pm we could see the fires. An amazing but very scary sight. We wish everyone in the area well.

by Alison from UK on 22-07-2012 03:31:00

The country and houses North of Santa Catarina were left to burn while the president fretted about the A22 that nobody uses. The fire was simply "watched" the first night hoping it would go away – it did!!!
The hunting associations, absentee landowners and the GNR make no effort to keep the laws to clear land so fires are prevented. Why should they – if anyone is compensated it will be them.
If ever the English proverb “a stich in time saves 9” was appropriate it was here.
Perhaps the “penny” will click with the GNR that they can make more in fines going back an seeing what land was obviously not cleared than sitting at the airport waiting for tourists with the wrong car rental papers!

by nemo from Algarve on 22-07-2012 02:16:00

I have contacted many people here in the uk who want to donate money but I can find no information as to a central fund. We want to send money to the people who have lost everything and to support the Bombeiros.
I am returning to Tavira on Wednesday but someone there must be able to set up an emergency donation point.
If we can text money in other emergencies why cant we do that for this?Chris Brody

by Christine Brody from UK on 22-07-2012 08:33:00

Thank you all the fire fighters who have put their lives on the line to save me and my much loved family. There are heros.then there are people like you. Words cannot express our gratitude. Hope that all the people in sao bras get their lives back very quickly. God bless you all

by Carol jones from Algarve on 22-07-2012 12:59:00

Why no central information and not a map where it is dangerous. Help better the people who lives here with information every hour

by dick.knoth from Algarve on 21-07-2012 10:51:00

My heart goes out to all those affected by this destructive fire. To the residents and home-owners in the area, I admire your calmness and fortitude. To the Bombeiros - you are heroes and I salute you.

by June Lover from Algarve on 21-07-2012 05:15:00

to Jose I have family staying 10 klms from Cotovio
They said that the fires they could see in the distance and now gone out. There is a lot of ash about but no fires at the moment.

by Jane from UK on 21-07-2012 05:02:00

Blessings for all the volunteers who fight these fires. Each of them is a hero! May they all return home safe and in good health.

by Flora from Algarve on 21-07-2012 04:54:00

Where was the major – when Macario was the boss he was always on site in an emergency.

by Nemo from Algarve on 21-07-2012 04:44:00

At the moment 1000 fireman's are fithing the blazes at Tavira keep your self's clam everthing will be under control soon just contact any police forces if you have any problem's there they will be happy to help you I wish all you a nice and safe holiday's.
by Vitor from UK on 20-07-2012 09:03:00


Oddly Victor - you see things differently from your seat in the UK tan those sitting in the middle of this fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Zess from Algarve on 21-07-2012 04:39:00

"My family live near Porto Cavaloso, Santa Catarina"

A couple of lucky escapes across the river but all generally OK.

Having watched the fires burn for a day with no action something is now being done. The GNR turned folk out to let the houses burn as there were no firefighters but folk risked their lives and the GNR to return and save their houses.

North of PC it is like a moonscape but most houses survived - people happy to be alive.

by audi from Algarve on 21-07-2012 04:25:00

We are on top of a hill between Porto Carvalhoso and Santa Catarina, so have seen nearly everything re the fire. We have been comparatively safe as we are in an agricultural area with no large groups of big trees.

We did not see a single firefighting plane or even helicopter until Thursday, although the fire started on Wednesday. Indeed it is only since yesterday afternoon (Fri) , when the fire spread into the Sao Bras area, that there has been more than the stray water-carrying flight.
It seems that Tavira and surrounding area were left to the land-based firefighters. Whilst they do a great job, a little air support on Wednesday and early Thursday would have made a fantastic difference and almost certainly would have saved thousands of acres, many homes and wildlife. WHY SO LATE?

by Joana from Algarve on 21-07-2012 03:26:00

We have a villa in Casteslos near Faz Fato. Does anyone know if the fire has reached there?

by kate from Algarve on 21-07-2012 02:07:00

I hope all is ok near the village in Cotovio Tavira , for I have a few freinds living there pls, let me know if any opne is out there , and knows any thing about..the fire..
I am in German.

by jose antonio ferreira carvalho from Algarve on 21-07-2012 10:45:00

Niece and husband plus her mum and dad returned to Alcaria Fria this afternoon, they and their neighbours are stunned by the devastation. Stephanie's home survived, original years old construction with 60cm walls of natural stone set into the mountain side so built to last but everything outside and combustible is destroyed including vehicles; the place is charred black for many km. As far as they know everyone in the area is safe and unharmed. They don't have any power so contact still very limited.

by Shirley Cox from UK on 20-07-2012 10:00:00

At the moment 1000 fireman's are fithing the blazes at Tavira keep your self's clam everthing will be under control soon just contact any police forces if you have any problem's there they will be happy to help you I wish all you a nice and safe holiday's.

by Vitor from UK on 20-07-2012 09:03:00

We have family in that area Adam. They returned today to find most of their garden gone, pool blackened and their guttering and air con melted. They didn't clarify if the fire hit or if it was just heat and ash that damaged their place. The actual property though was fine. They are staying there again though.

by Stuart Horn from UK on 20-07-2012 06:56:00

Yes, please keep this updated. My mother's childhood home is in Sa Bras and we have family and friends there. Our prayers are with you all. God bless the fire men and women.

by Diane from EP, RI from USA on 20-07-2012 06:33:00

My family live near Porto Cavaloso, Santa Catarina - whats the latest in that area? They have evacuted their home due to the threat of fire. Could you please keep me updated!!!

by Adam Chapman from UK on 20-07-2012 04:14:00

ann facebooked me; liz is safe so far but fire is very close

by michael from USA on 20-07-2012 04:07:00

We live in Champana just outside Tavira
How safe are we?

by Sue Merrin from Algarve on 20-07-2012 02:23:00

Patience Michael. There are currently 608 fire-fighters, 176 operational vehicles, 3 helicopters and 4 planes supporting the Tavira blaze. Most of the Bombeiros have now been at their posts for more than 24 hours, I am sure they are all doing the best they can.

by Wendy Manning from Beiras on 20-07-2012 12:11:00

We were evacuated at 6.00am from Mealhas. We have just been allowed back to our home. Still very smokey and ash is falling like snow, but thank goodness we are all ok. Thank God for the wonderful Bombeiros we have.

by julie from Algarve on 20-07-2012 12:02:00

My niece and her husband live at Alcaria Fria, mountain top area near Tavira 8800-166. My sister and brother-in-law arrived for a visit Thursday 19th, they text me 20:30 "massive fire broken out, all safe". Spoke with my sister very briefly because they don't have a phone charger, they escaped with the clothes they were wearing and her mobile. She said without warning huge flames erupted, within seconds flames were everywhere. They and other neighbours evacuated to 8 miles down the mountain; all are being given refuge by local people who are being wonderful, offering amazing kindness and hospitality. This mornings text says the army is arriving; fire has destroyed villages, huge amount of damage to the area, situation very bad. They don't know the status of the fire but are hoping to check properties later today.

by Shirley Cox from UK on 20-07-2012 11:34:00

I'd suggest the helicopters are somewhat stretched Michael, and that they are doing their best in difficult circumstances.

by Ric from Algarve on 20-07-2012 11:29:00

My brother lives in Sao Bras de Alportel and has just evacuted his home. Please get the helicopters out there!!!!

by Tina Hudson from UK on 20-07-2012 10:27:00

We flew into Faroo at 7.45pm 19.7.12
Monarch flight.
View from window was just like the volcanic ash cloud that hit Iceland April last year. The sun went a blood red colour which was absolutely incredible.
The atmosphere would have impacted the flight path on the approach to the airport and althouh I am not 100% sure, we were diverted to the east as the smoke limited visibility considerably. On arrival at Faro, the smoke cloud resembled a 50% entire coverage of the skies over the airport. Some drifting was evident in a south westerly and south easterly direction as far over as Vilamoura (confirmed as we drove westwards to the apartment in Lagos area)
In the UK we see what I saw in the faro skies ( a very deep grey colour CLOUD/ covering. Like an impending thunder storm almost bluish grey! Incredible view and so unexpected at this time of year for the reigon.
I hope the flight routines into and out of the Algarve will not be compromised. Good luck fire services ..from the air we could see at least 7 separate burning points.
KT (owner abroad)

by Kate Thompson from Algarve on 20-07-2012 09:59:00

Please can we keep this updated. My Family are living in Mesquita Alta, and have had to move out to avoid the smoke.

by Dan from UK on 20-07-2012 09:21:00

We live 3kms esat of sao bras de alportel and three minutes ago we colud see three lots of flames from the fires in the distance. They have been burning now for the last two days. There does not appear from where we are to be any helicopeters trying to put this fire out. What is going on???

by michael roden from Algarve on 19-07-2012 09:00:00
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