Sunday, July 22, 2012

Burning fires at dawn

Source: Melanie Maps/EPA/Lusa 
This week in Tavira, we have had a terrible fire that burned for over three days.  It has been very concerning and caused immesaurable damage, burning a third of the area in the district.  It started on wednesday afternoon, up in the hills of Serra do caldeirao, which stretches across the East Algarve from near the Spanish border to central Algarve near Faro.  At the worst point, the fire was out of control on three fronts, stretching over 40 miles.  With strong winds and reiginitions causing big problems.  

On wednesday night, the sky was a horrible colour, with a sinister grey tint from the clouds of smoke which stretched as far as the eye can see.  The next morning, things had only gotten worse after the strong winds of the night before and we woke to smokey clouds and ash falling like drizzle on both sides.  Now the fire was spreading south and west towards the town of Sao Bras.  They bought in more firefighters and units from the army, with more than 700 hundred men, over 150 vehicles and several planes, they were still unable to get it under control.  People had to be evacuated from their homes.

Finally on saturday afternoon, they managed to dominate the fire and now have it under control.  So what now?  They are investigating the source of the fire as many of the fires this week have been caused by arson. But the cost of the damage to our beautiful area is uncountable and means huge losses for many whose lives depend on the Serra and its land, not to mention the animals lost.  Miles of eucaplytus, olives, vineyards etc, all gone, to take years to regenerate.

And now all the 'officials' can do is blame each other for why it took so long to get under control.  This drives me crazy, this blame policy.  Everyone wants to look like the hero, but there are no heroes in this story and blaming the others is of no use, the damage is done.  Now is the time to start the repairs not to argue.


  1. Oh no forest fires are devastating. I remember one time in GC when it affected the animal park. I hope they stop blaming and start discussing repairing.

  2. Tavira isn't a district, there's only one district in the Algarve and it's Faro.

    1. Mr Carvalho, thank you for your comment. I know it is not a district in the portuguese sense but most people reading my blog do not understand what a 'concelho' is. Therefore I have used the word 'district' to mean an area of space in that location.