As I was doing an airport transfer from Alvor the other day I spotted the small bellows of smoke coming from a fire in Monchique, Algarve. Little did I know the disaster that was about to follow.
So much of the hillside has been scorched beyond recognition. People have lost house and livestock but luckily so far no human casualties although it goes without saying that many animals will have suffered and also died.
I spotted a smaller fire being put out only the day before on the motorway exit from Alvor, it looked very much like somebody had thrown a cigarette from a car which is one of my pet hates in the Algarve. You would think people living in an area where fires are so common that they would have more sense.
I only hope that this latest disaster has not been started in a similar fashion. To think of such conditions all caused by a careless cigarette thrown from a car does not bear thinking about.
As I am writing this blog we know that there are over 1000 people working on trying to get the fire under control. Many villages have been evacuated. Water planes and helicopters are also in action. The last I heard it was 15 in total. We also have help from our Spanish neighbours which is much appreciated too.
Monchique Fire Volunteers
As some people may know the fire service here is known as Bombeiros. It is known as a voluntary organization. From my understanding they are not paid a set wage. They get an hourly rate only when called into action. Because of this a lot of charity and donation efforts have been put into place.
Many locals set up drop off points so that others can donate bottled water, fruit, socks, burn cream etc. Once they are full they then take this to one of the main distribution areas who will get the right things to the right people who need it most.
If you wish to contribute to help out the Bombeiros then please see options below.
All pictures and videos kindly provided by Bruno Costa.
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