Wild Fire in Tojeiro near Monchique 1 Oct 2015 Part 1

A small fire gets out of control near Monchique.

START OF WILD FIRE NEAR MONCHIQUE
I saw smoke from a fire rising in the distance somewhere between Marmelete and Lagos as I came down the hill from Foia. I was heading for the Tasca Petrol restaurant for lunch, and then on to Vale do Lama  near to Lagos, to pick up a friend. We were then heading to Porto do Mos for a spot of Paragliding and chilling out on the beach.
However, I was distracted by the smoke. At first I thought it was a bonfire, so I watched for a little while.  The smoke was becoming more and more  dense and blacker. I got my camera from the car and started taking photos.

WILD FIRE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL
WILD FIRE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL

The red pin on the map below shows the location of the fire

Map picture

 

Approaching the main road at Vale de Corga I saw a number of people gathering by the roadside watching the fire. I parked the car and walked over to the edge of the road to take some more photos. As I took pictures of the fire and took in the view of the Algarve's South coast and countryside, several emergency vehicles went past with a great urgency.

I decided to move on to Petrol for lunch because it is a very popular place and gets very busy. When I got to Petrol it was packed so I thought it better to drive down to Vale do Lama, via Corte Cibrao and find another place to eat on the way.

A helicopter

I stopped again to take some more photos because now I can see flames spreading all along a ridge and a helicopter with a large bag of water slung underneath. It was dumping large quantities of water onto the fire and then flying off to somewhere to fill up with water again. Does anyone know where? I suspect they were using the Barragem da Bravura near Odiáxere. But I don't know for sure.

MONCHIQUE WATER TANKER

A bulk tanker of water from the Bombeiros Voluntarios de Monchique arriving on scene.

I have parked the car well off the road and out of the way so that I can walk down the road a little to see if I can continue on to Vale do Lama on this route or did I need to make a detour.

BOMBEIROS DO SILVES
BOMBEIROS DO SILVES

A fire engine from the Bombeiros do Silves arrives

I came to a place where a turning to the right was showing directions to Tojeiro and other villages and hamlets. The road seemed to take me directly into the area of the fire so I decided not to go any further. A few other people along with the emergency services also were stopping at this point.

As you can see in the photo below, the fire was the other side of a hill but the wind was blowing from the south and in our direction. I was fairly sure that the flames would soon be visible on the tree line.

FIRE

The hillside on the right of the picture above the fire engine is so far, untouched by the fire

What occurs next seems to happen over a very short period of time. Eucalyptus trees become engulfed in flames as the fire advances to the ridge and over the top.

FIRE COMES OVER THE TOP

Sparks, ashes, burning leaves and cinders are blown across the valley, and the hill on the right hand side bursts into flames.

SPARKS START FIRES

Watch the video to see this whole area turn into an out of control wildfire while I make a retreat to somewhere safer and out of the way.

To continue reading, see another video and look at more pictures go to the next post

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Thank you
Selwyn

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