The battle against the fire
continues till dark and thankfully the wind drops and stops the
fire spreading so violently... At dusk the fire has increased to
about 16 sq km.
That evening the fire creeps
forward slowly and menacingly over every contour of the land .......
It will be a long night for both the Firemen and the inhabitant
praying that the wind does not increase. ...What would Saturday
7.30am Saturday 9th August 2003.
The temperature is 28o and rising.
The fireman have been fighting
the blaze all night and trying to break the ring of fire.
During the night the fire ring
extended to 20 sq. km. The Bomberios have managed to control
the ring with only a few pockets remaining.
Bulldozers are brought in
to carve a barrier down the hillside to form a barrier. Affective
only if there is not a strong wind. There are still thousands of
smoldering embers behind the line waiting for a chance to extend
their menace.........The helicopters continue to patrol the edge
of the ring.
The circle is now a good 35
to 40 k. long. Over rough terrain..
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At 11.30 a huge smoke cloud was seen coming
from the area of the fire and it was assumed that the fire had restarted
itself again. I raced to the edge of our hill to find the main command
center of the Bomberios and many tired firemen and fire women
looking into the distance at a blaze that has started some 25 km.
away in Portimao on the coast and had already traveled in the wind
some distance along the coast.
..12pm Saturday 9th
August 2003.. Its now 12pm. and 39o
and the smoke from the coast fire is being blown up in our direction.
With it, it brings a strange feeling of foreboding and a strong
warm updraft. This coupled with the summer heat and debris in the
cloud lead to our fire rekindling at one of the worst points possible
next part of story
Straight up in to the eucalyptus... ....the
helicopters break from the coast but its too late and the fire
is well established in seconds. It races off in to the distance
and we all know that this is going to be impossible to stop.
We have a Northerly wind we have bone dry eucalyptus and we
have the fan of another huge fire ...
The Algarve is looking more like a war
zone not a tourist destination...
The fire continues into the hills and
in its usual pattern spreads to form a massive circle which by
night fall has covered an area of about 300 sq km across rough
inpenertrable terrain. During the night it continues to increase
in size and we all know that the front is heading towards Casais.
..7.30am Sunday 10th August 2003..
Everyone in the town has had a restless night and at first light
we are all at the fire front to see where it is.
The ring is now massive and although it seems inoffective as
it pushes down hill we are under no illusions as to the power
of the fire front ...
and as the bull-dozer yet again pushes along the front...
the tongue of the fire is inches from more bone dry eucalyptus.
8.30am and the front of the fire has now forced its way into
a valley in front of Casais and is consuming all the trees in
its path... It is getting bigger and the column of smoke tells
of an inferno burning underneath, we are in the lap of the gods
as to which way it turn.