Monday, January 26, 2009

The charred land

The fire that raged in the Marina Baixa on Saturday has finally been extinguished. In total 1,006 hectares of forest have been destroyed by the blaze which is double the area of forest burnt at Terra Mitica in 1992. Although the area now resembles a lunar landscape, very few houses were affected.

The worst fear was that wind wouldn't drop and the firefighters would still have to battle with 110km per hour gusts. Luckily the wind did subside and they were able to contain the fire and then put it out with the help of helicopters and planes. It took over 700 men 33 hours to complete the task many of them working tirelessly through the night.

The majority of the 14,000 people who were evacuated from 20 towns in the region were able to go home on Saturday leaving only 16 who had to spend the night in a hostel. They were able to sleep safely in their own beds last night to what I imagine was great relief.

The two theme parks in the area, Terra Natura and Terra Mítica, also had to be evacuated. Thankfully the fire didn't reach either park. and all the animals are safe. Both parks will be closed though because of the damage that the storm force winds reeked on fences signs etc.

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