MONCHIQUE FIRES – SITREP – 9th AUGUST 10.00 hrs

UPDATE – 10TH AUGUST 2018 – 0700 HRS

The seven-day fire in the Monchique mountain range has been “globally stabilized” and has no active fronts, said Patrícia Gaspar, second-in-command of the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC). It is still classified as active, however.

The official casualty rate has been updated to 39 the number of injured resulting from the fire of Monchique, in the Algarve, of which 21 are firemen, registering only a serious injury.

As at 0700 hrs on 10th August 1379 operational personnel were deployed supported by 445 vehicles and one aircraft.

A total of 299 people have been displaced from their homes in Monchique, Portimão and Silves, a joint operation with Social Security, the Red Cross, INEM and other autthorities..

Apart 50 homes destroyed in Monchique, there is no news on the total number of properties damaged.

As at last night the fire had consumed approximately 27,000 hectares of land

Despite the fact that there are no fronts, “the fire is still active,” the Deputy National Operational Commander Patricia Gasper stressed “We will keep all the resources on the ground, supported by track machines and all our attention, to consolidate the hard work carried out during the day.

 

UPDATE – 9TH AUGUST 2018 – 2200 HRS

At the end of the seventh day, the fire of Monchique still dominates, but “it has been giving way.” Throughout this Thursday, the resources on the ground had to attack several reactivations, including one with greater intensity in the Herdade da Parra, in Silves.

Despite the fact that there are no fronts, “the fire is still active,” the Deputy National Operational Commander Patricia Gasper stressed “We will keep all the resources on the ground, supported by track machines and all our attention, to consolidate the hard work carried out during the day.

Reactions are the big risk right now. We are at a stage where we cannot neglect anything.

Throughout this Thursday, the main work of the forces that fight the flames was, moreover, to attack fires that rekindled in different points of Monchique and Silves. “At this moment we can say that we have no active fronts. What we have are hot spots and reactivations, which we have been fighting throughout the day and that we have managed to overcome.

On a day that has gone well, it will be a night with much better conditions than the one before it. In addition to the drop in temperature, it is expected that “a relative humidity level of up to 80% and, fortunately, a reduction in the intensity of the wind”.

Even so, ‘tomorrow the risk of fire will remain high in this region’, so that there is no alleviation of the means of land and of the attention that is being given to the fire.

However, some of the people who have been evacuated from their homes have already returned and the others are about to return to their homes.

“We have started preparing people to return home today. We want to ensure that this process takes place in an orderly and safe manner.

Speaking to Antena 1, Rui André stated around 50 houses were totally or partially destroyed and around 10 million euros of damage. This is the first estimate by the mayor of Monchique of the damage caused by the fire

Earlier Jorge Botelho was hopeful that the fire of Monchique is in the right way to be controlled, but does not risk a prognosis for its aim.

We are hopeful that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible. What came out of this morning’s operational briefing is that things are somehow moving in the right direction. But they are not resolved and we have to be careful, “he said.

Wind, which has had “some influence” in the spread of fire in the Algarve, will begin to fall from Saturday, haccording to meteorologist Joana Sanches, of the Sea Portuguese Institute and the Atmosphere (IPMA).
POST 10.00 HRS

More than 100 people, including residents and tourists, were evacuated from their homes at night and at dawn in dozens of towns along the EN124 road between Silves and Messines due to the Monchique fire.

After a “quiet night,” in which Monchique’s fire-fighting strategy resulted, the attention of Civil Protection will now be concentrated on consolidating the work that has already been done, “very much based on heavy machinery”, that is, track machines.

Patrícia Gaspar, 2nd national operational commander of Civil Protection, who is coordinating the firefighting in the Algarve, made this statement this morning.

“Last night everything went smoothly. The conditions on the ground and weather facilitated the implementation of the strategy we had outlined, especially with regard to the consolidation of work in the entire area between São Marcos da Serra, São Bartolomeu de Messines and Silves, the area that had been affected yesterday afternoon by a reaction, which resulted in a large focus in this area.

The night was “calm and allowed the consolidation of the strategy and the work that was defined”.

Today, the weather conditions have changed, mainly the level of the expected maximum temperatures, that will reach between the 24 and 26 degrees. There will be “a reduction in relative humidity and we our worst opponent, the wind, which will blow moderately from the North, with gusts that could reach 50 kilometers per hour.”

In other words, ‘maximum attention’ remains necessary in order to avoid as much as possible reactivations of the fire, which are ‘a possibility, especially during the afternoon’. “We have to ensure the permanent monitoring of the entire perimeter, which already has a significant extension. We are talking about a perimeter with more than 100 kms, “revealed the 2nd national operational commander of Civil Protection.

To try to avoid re-emergence, firefighters and aircraft will also be joined by heavy machinery. “Track machines have done absolutely fundamental work in this fire. It is based on this strategy that we continue to operate on the ground, obviously in conjunction with all the Civil Protection agents “said Patrícia Gaspar.

Also on the ground are the Armed Forces, which are focusing “on the surveillance and aftermath of the already burnt areas, to continue the work that has already been done”.

Patrícia Gaspar also updated the number of injured, which rose to 36, although the only one is serious. Of these injured, 19 are firefighters, all of them with slight injuries. We are talking about smoke inhalation, exhaustion and minor sprains.

There have already been 23,478 hectares burned in the Monchique fire. Updated data from the European Union’s emergency satellite navigation system Copernicus revealed. Since yesterday more than 2000 hectares have burned in the municiplality of Silves.

There have been some drizzles of rain in Monchique and throughout the Serra area, as far as Sao Bartholomeu de Messines

“Our great adversary is the wind,” the commander said, admitting the possibility of reactivation this afternoon.
As at 14.00 hrs 1472 personnel, 466 vehicles and 15 aircraft/helicopters are deployed.


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