Monchique Fires – SITREP – 6th August 22.00 hrs

Monchique Fires – SITREP – 6TH AUGUST 2018 22.00 hrs

The approximately 1,100 operational firefighters who began four days ago in Monchique have “a hard night ahead,” Abel Gomes, the second district operational commander of Civil Protection of Faro, in a briefing held at the EB 2,3 School in Monchique.

Around 20.00 hrs the most worrisome situations were the fronts on the hillside of Foia near the Odelouca Dam and the Silves Mountain Center and in the Sítio da Cascalheira, in Monchique. But at that time, the fire was also being fought at other points, particularly at the MacDonald Resort in Caldas de Monchique.

In the morning, the civil protection guarantee to have 95% of the fire controlled. Still, Abel Gomes recalled, he was told at the same time that there were “very sensitive areas, hot spots, which were not yet consolidated”.

It was precisely in these hot spots that the fire reignited and “with great intensity.” With the increase of the intensity of the wind, more evident from the afternoon, also happened fire projections, that complicated the combat strategy that was outlined.

This has forced once again to evacuate the population from some places, particularly from the three areas where the fire causes more concern, but also “in other small clusters”.

‘The situation remains very complex. This is a large fire, “summarized Abel Gomes

 

UPDATE 6TH AUGUST 2018 18.00 hrs

Rui André Mayor of Monchique has expressed concern over fire front heading to Fóia and the other that progresses towards the Pedagogical Farm of Silves.

REMINDER: People living in fire front areas maybe asked to evacuate and should be particular attentive and following the directions of police and other authorities

To avoid further problems and for safety, people are being removed from the houses, accommodation units and restaurants on the Fóia road, namely next to the restaurants Teresinha and Luar da Fóia.

Rui André confirmed to the South Information that there were “several houses of first housing that burned” and there are displaced, although it is not yet known how many.

The 60 or so people who have been left without their homes or who cannot return to them are now being accommodated in the centre installed in EB 2,3 of Monchique and in Marmelete.

 

UPDATE 13.15 hrs

GOOD NEWS – 95% of the perimeter of the Monchique is “controlled,” but there are still “some hot spots” in the area that could lead to reignitions, said Víctor Vaz Pinto, from the Faro Operational Command Headquarters a few minutes ago.

The remaining 5% of the fire that is still not controlled is “in an area inaccessible by land” and “very dangerous”.

Jorge Botelho, chairman of Faro’s District Civil Protection Commission, said he was “confident of the force on the ground” to fight the fire.

At the moment, “15 to 20 thousand hectares” have already been burned.

 

EARLIER BULLETIN 10.30 hrs

Aircraft are not yet able to act in the Monchique fire due to the thick smoke hovering over the area, said District Deputy Commander Abel Gomes at the Civil Protection press conference at 0930 hrs on 6th August 2018 in Monchique. He made the following points:

Commander Abel Gomes also revealed that, as of 12.00, the wind is expected to increase, which is a “worry” situation. “We will have an adverse weather, the intensity of the winds will increase”, towards São Marcos da Serra.

  • In the Caldas de Monchique area was a “very sensitive situation”, with the media being “pre-positioned” after residents and tourists had been removed from these areas.
  • The deputy commander said that for a stronger attack, “the possibility of air support is lacking,” as helicopters and airplanes can only begin to act “when the smoke dissipates.” “As the hours pass, we wait for the smoke to fade.”
  • In spite of the two fronts the “situation is much more favourable than it was during the night”, although the “sensitive” situations continue. Progress had been made overnight. We are providing all our concern and attention”, in the fight against this fire, which has ‘a very large perimeter’.
  • There was no concrete data on the “buildings affected”, not knowing if they are just “vacant houses” and “farm buildings”.
  • Twenty-five people were injured during the dawn of Monday in the fire,
  • An elderly woman, 72, is in critical condition and had to be transported by helicopter to the Hospital de Santa Maria in Lisbon. INEM has already registered 64 occurrences, with 44 people assisted (13 civilians and 31 civil protection agents).
  • The operational subcommittee emphasized that “safeguarding human life is the greatest concern” of civil protection actors on the ground, although there have been “several defended houses”.
  • At dawn, several localities and sites were evacuated for preventive measures: Caldas de Monchique, the urbanization of Montinho, the MacDonald hotel, Barranco do Banho, Monchicão (near the Odelouca stream).
  • In the municipality of Portimão, the populations of the zone of Vale Boi and Rasmalho were withdrawn, since the flames follow along the road between Monchique and Portimão.
  • Most of the displaced persons were taken to the EB 2,3 School in Monchique, while others were housed in the homes of relatives. At this moment, there are still no conditions for people to return home.
  • The access roads to Monchique are almost all cut, either by the side of São Marcos da Serra and Alferce, or by the side of Portimão. In this case, the traffic is cut off at the roundabout of the Port of Lagos.
  • As at 10.30 hrs a total of 1112 firefighters, 327 vehicles and 8 aircraft/helicopters were deployed

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