The forest fire in a Serra da Estrela natural park, declared under control last week in central Portugal, flared up again, mobilizing more than a thousand firefighters on Tuesday morning, according to civil protection.
After being declared under control overnight from Friday to Saturday, the fire “with violent behavior” resumed Monday afternoon, fanned by “a strong wind”, explained Monday evening the commander of civil protection André Fernandes during a press briefing. Several villages were evacuated as a precaution, he said.
The most important fire of the summer
The Serra da Estrela blaze, which is already the largest this summer in Portugal, has caused some 15,000 hectares to go up in smoke, according to the latest still provisional data from the Portuguese authorities. This fire, which broke out on August 6 in the vicinity of Covilha (center), destroyed unique forest areas of this UNESCO-recognized global geopark, in the heart of the Serra da Estrela mountain range culminating at about 2,000 meters.
As the Civil Protection Command is criticized for its management of operations, Interior Minister José Luis Carneiro pledged on Monday to launch an assessment of “the structural causes” and the “method of combat” against the fires “once the fire of Serra da Estrela is extinguished”.
Portugal, which is experiencing an exceptional drought this year, experienced the hottest July in almost a century. Since the beginning of the year, some 80,000 hectares have already gone up in smoke, the largest area since the deadly fires of 2017 which claimed a hundred victims, according to the latest report from the Institute for the conservation of nature. nature and forests.