Spain and Portugal are still trying, Wednesday August 17, to overcome several forest fires which have ravaged thousands of hectares, mobilizing hundreds of firefighters.
Spain has been facing a wave of forest fires in recent weeks, favored by rising temperatures, particularly in the province of Valencia, in the east of the country. The fire that has been raging since Monday in Bejis, 70 kilometers northwest of Valencia, has grown rapidly, ravaging more than 10,000 hectares, and has led to the evacuation of 1,500 people, according to regional officials. The firefighters of the province of Castellon posted a video on Twitter showing the violence of the flames:
Seguro que habrás oído hablar de incendios que, puntualmente, superan la capacity de extinction. Mira como los viv… https://t.co/zhvpPLz5yQ
About 200 kilometers further south, in La Vall d’Ebo, the weather has offered some respite to the hundreds of firefighters who have been fighting a major fire since Saturday. The rain and hail, which fell on an area where the flames ravaged more than 11,000 hectares, however grounded the planes of fight against fires and their teams.
Destructions of unique species in Portugal
In neighboring Portugal, the Serra da Estrela fire, where 90% of the perimeter was declared under control at midday, continues to focus efforts “consolidation” firefighters, Civil Protection Commander Miguel Cruz said during a press briefing late in the day. More than 1,200 firefighters remained on the job, supported by eight aircraft.
After being declared under control last week, the fire flared up again on Monday. An investigation has been opened to determine the causes. The fire, which has caused some 25,000 hectares of this protected area to go up in smoke, according to provisional estimates, is already the largest this summer in Portugal.
The smell of burning was felt until Madrid on Tuesday. This fire destroyed unique species in the UNESCO-recognized park, in the heart of the Serra da Estrela mountain range, which rises to around 2,000 meters.
During the afternoon, another outbreak worried the rescue services in the region of Caldas da Rainha, in the center-west of the country, where a mobilized firefighter died of a heart attack.
New heat wave from Saturday
The firefighters’ goal is to bring the Serra da Estrela fire under control by Friday, before temperatures rise again.
“We are not yet at the end of this critical period of fires”warned Wednesday José Luis Carneiro, Minister of the Interior, after a meeting with officials of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA). “We are going to enter a third heat wave” from Saturday, “which should last until September”a month that promises to be “warmer and drier” than normal, he said.
Portugal, which is experiencing an exceptional drought this year, has already experienced the hottest month of July in almost a century. Since the start of the year, 92,000 hectares have gone up in smoke, the largest area since the deadly fires of 2017, which killed around 100 people, according to the latest report from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature. nature and forests.