UPDATE 8TH AUGUST 0800 hrs
The fire this morning affects the areas of Enxerim, Pinheiro and Garrado and Pedreira in Silves, after having consumed the slope and the top of the Fóia during the night, even threatening the antennas. There are also active hot spots in Caldas de Monchique and between Couples and Senhora do Verde (Monchique).
The strong wind that was felt all night did not let the firemen take advantage of the low temperature and some nocturnal humidity to put an end to the flames.
During the night, Rui André, the mayor of Monchique, said that a housing area on the hillside of Fóia had to be evacuated, while in Caldas, below, there are still “some hot spots”, where there have been re-settlements.
As for the situation in Silves, where there is a “very difficult front”, the fire evolved during the night in an area of hills behind “a line of settlements”, “with a lot of population”, which, according to Rosa Palma,, reached the towns of Enxerim (which is less than two kms from the entrance of the city), Pedreira and Pinheiro e Garrado.
Meanwhile, a helicopter and two medium-sized Fireboss planes are in action this morning in the Silves area, while he expects the arrival of heavier aircraft, including the Spanish Canadair aircraft, which helped so much yesterday in Portimão, in the Rasmalho area.
Road cuts are N266, 267,124 and M502. Although Silves town itself is not affected there are road closed in the area with fires in the surrounding areas so it is advisable to avoid the Silves area.
A joint effort of the firemen and the Special Firefighters, known as “canarinhos”, was instrumental in controlling the fire with the communication antennas installed in Fóia.
The flames, driven by the strong wind, “approached” the railings around the communications towers at the site. However, fire-fighting resources were positioned close by and acted quickly and in strength, preventing the flames from destroying the antennas.
Around one o’clock in the morning, the flames were controlled in that area, but they continued elsewhere in the Fóia mountain range,
The Monchique fire still has two active fronts, one to the west, on the way to Casais, along the road to Marmelete, and another to the east, already in the municipality of Silves, Patrícia Gaspar, 2nd national commander of the National Protection Authority Civil and new operational commander for the fight against this fire said at 20.00 hrs..
According to the “strategy defined in operational terms”, the “great focus tonight” will be in the lines of the perimeter of the fire where we still have hot spots, we must consolidate. ”
The consolidation of the parts of that perimeter where work is already taking place more favourably, either with the use of the ground forces of the fire brigades or with the structured and organized reinforcement of the work of track machines.
She pointed out that this machinery does “very important work” in the “opening of containment bundles which reduce the spread of the fire, but also create conditions for the ground resources to enter”.
Despite the wind, we have some possibility of recovery here in suits of humidity, a factor that is favorable to us.” There is also a ‘drop in temperature’, which is already happening.
On the move from command of operations to a national level, Patrícia Gaspar assured that it was a “perfectly normal option” in operations with “some complexity”, which is “extending in time and space”, as is the case.
The importance of following instructions to ensure maximum protection. These are constantly being broadcast by the GNR, and they insist people do not return to their homes unless confirmed ok to do so by authorities.
The perimeter of the fire grew early this morning, with more fires activated by strong winds in unstable areas of high combustion and difficult access.
Electricity has been cut, 250 people have been evacuated from their homes as a precaution. Civil Protection guarantees they have responded as best they can.
Weather conditions by Maria Joao Frada. IPMA – High risk due to strong winds. South Districts in high alert. Wind will continue until Thursday and by Friday slightly calmer. Temperatures will rise
PREVIOUS UPDATE 19.00 hrs
If you need any information concerning roads that maybe affected by the fires and road clsure please dial the GNR special number 808 201 855. At present the only roads closed are N266, N267 and M502.
The localities of Falacho and Falacho de Cima, a little more than two kms from the town of Silves, are being evacuated due to the proximity of the flames. There is no information of housing at risk, revealed the Mayor of Silves Rosa Palma.
According to the mayor the situation “was complicated on Monday night”, which led to the evacuation of isolated houses and population clusters. Since yesterday and throughout the night, the fire has been near Zebro de Cima
At around 1630 hrs on Tuesday, the fire burned in Marmelete area and is projected towards Portimão and Aljezur. The strong wind is hampering fire-fighting operations.
Communication cables have been burned or broken as a consequence of the fire in the zone surrounding to Fóia, where there are antennas of the various communication equipment.
The front of the fire of Monchique that entered the the municipality of Portimão at the end of the morning was contained in Rasmalho.
The number of people requiring medical assistance resulting from the fires has risen to 95, of whom 66 are people who required on the spot assistance and 29 are injured, explained Faro’s Civil Protection commander, Abel Gomes.
Eduardo Cabrita Minister of Internal Administration took the opportunity to announce that the operations in the field has passed to the national command of the Civil Protection, due to the size of the fire and the resources involved. Patrícia Gaspar, Deputy National Operational commander will head this.
PROTECTION ADVICE FROM GNR
In a statement sent to newsrooms, the GNR therefore asks “please” the people to respect “the indications of the GNR military. They are there to help you. “In “case of preventive evacuation, people must comply with the instructions given and should not return until safe to do so. They should remain calm, assist children, elderly or family with mobility limitations and take their companion animals. ”
Also in relation to road traffic, it warns the authority to “never adopt risky actions, such as reversing the direction of travel on motorways, “which, it is recalled, happened recently in A2.
In emergency situations, “as the approach of the fire or the loss of visibility due to smoke”, drivers “must remain calm, turn on the hazard lights [the four blinkers] and immobilize the vehicles at a safe distance from the source of danger”. In addition, “they must immediately communicate with the authorities through 112 and leave the berm free for emergency vehicles to circulate.”