Portuguese firefighters put out a week’s fire in the Serra da Estrela mountain range in the east of the country, it was reported on Saturday. Seven firefighters were injured during the firefighting operation, three of them are in serious condition. Arson is not ruled out by the police.
The investigation shows that the fire started on Saturday, August 6, in the Garrocho village near the city of Covilha. The districts of Castelo Branco and Guarda were affected by fire. As Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced, a special commission should be formed in the near future to determine the causes of the tragedy in the mountain massif adjacent to Portugal’s eastern border with Spain.
According to sources in the Portuguese police, quoted by the weekly “Expresso”, “investigators suspect that a criminal hand” was behind the biggest fire in 2022. It was extinguished on Saturday afternoon.
According to the estimates of the Copernicus satellite system, a total of over 17,000 hectares of forest and wasteland were burnt in the fire.
Seven injured firefighters, destroyed homes
Seven firefighters were injured in a fire. Five of them were injured on Thursday night in the vicinity of the city of Guarda. The tragic event took place as a result of an accident involving a fire-fighting vehicle. The medical services assess the condition of three casualties as serious.
On Thursday evening, a fire in the Guarda district forced several hundred people to evacuate after fire approached residential buildings. 20 houses burned down.
The preliminary analysis of the Portuguese Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) shows that the fire on the Serra da Estrela may have contributed to a drastic reduction in the number of individuals threatened with extinction of species of reptiles and insects.
About 2,000 fires have broken out in Portugal since the beginning of July. They consumed over 60 thousand. forest areas and agricultural wastelands.
Main photo source: Reuters