GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

Forest Fires in Southern Europe

30  July 2003, 10:00

Latest Satellite Images:

Forest Fire in Central Portugal
Hot and dry conditions over the Iberian Peninsula have given rise to several fires in Portugal (left of center) and southern Spain (right). More than 200 firefighters were working to control a large forest fire in central Portugal, and had to call for reinforcements from the capital city, Lisbon, as well as from Spain. Media reports indicate that about 70,000 residents in nearby communities were without power or phone. This image of the fire (marked in red), which is creating a thick plume of smoke, was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on 28 July 2003.

Source: NASA/EO



Fig.1. Fires in Southern Italy
Record-setting heat has been plaguing southern Italy this summer, increasing the fire danger across the country. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Aqua satellite on 24 July  2003, shows numerous fires detected by MODIS and marked with red dots. Dust from the Sahara Desert hangs over the southwest part of the scene, softening the appearance of Tunisia (bottom left), Sardinia (top left), and Sicily (bottom center). For details see: 

Source: NASA/EO



Fig.2. Fire-weather forecast for Europe, 29 July 2003. 

(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)


Army and fire-brigades fighting against fires in Portugal
30 July  July 2003, 08:00 

(AFP) Approximately hundred soldiers and more than 250 firefighters fought on Tuesday in northern of Portugal against an enormous forest fire. According to fire-brigade data made strong hoist, high temperatures and the hilly area the fire-fighting operationses more difficult close Silvares approximately 260 kilometers north of Lisbon. Firefighters at the soil supported of four helicopters and six delete airplanes. The waldbrand had broken out in the Sunday afternoon. Occasionally the telephone and current supply of the place Castelo Branco lying near the fire source broke down. Authority representatives assumed arson as a cause.

Spain: Fires near Madrid 
Wed. 30 July 2003, 11:00 

In Spain increased forest fire risk exists due to for three weeks the persisting glow heat. With the Spanish capital Madrid destroyed already a waldbrand hundreds of hectare forest. Ecologically valuable calibration and Pinienwaelder fell the flames to the victim.  The fire had broken out of unknown quantities a cause in the proximity of the artificial lake San Juan in the west of the capital. Delete airplane fallen On Thursday with Lleida in the northeast of the country a small aircraft had hit with the fight of a fire against a mountain-slope. The two passengers died. Temperatures fall only slowly The heat decreased/went back on weekend in completely Spain somewhat: In many regions the maximum temperatures under 30 degrees, in the north remained fell even something rain. Of some degrees more or less a lasting cooling is not independent in view. On the holidays island Mallorca, which had been most strongly affected by the African heat front in the past days, climbed the thermometer again clearly on over 30 degrees. River becomes limited  The Baleareninsel registered a record current consumption for the third time within fewer days. The power supplier Gesa appealed to the population to use air conditioning systems carefully. The Spanish wetteramt assumes this month will be in far parts of the country the hottest June of all times. 

Source: ORF


After conflagration in southeast France hunt for fire founders 

Nice (dpa) – after the waldbraenden in southeast France and on
Korsika the search runs after fire founders on full speed. Two
suspicious men already are in detention. One of them is a local
employee. It admitted from rage several fires to have put because it
had been rejected as a freiwilliger feuerwehrmann. South of Draguignan
meanwhile the fight against the flames continues. 700 firefighters are
in the use. Five humans died with the fires so far.




Italy: Fires in southern Italy- GFMC summery

29 July 2003

Southern  Italy, to which so far the problem of the water scarceness had been saved, is fighting against fires, which caused already enormous damages particularly in Calabria and in the area of Salento in the region Apulia.. Hundreds of hectare shrubland were destroyed. On Saturday also a fire at the slopes of the Vesuvs was extinguished. Several hundred task forces are busy all over Italy with fire-fighting operations.”The high temperatures and the drought endanger the South Italies completely”, said the General Director of the Italian Foresters Society, Giuseppe Di Croce. Most fires are caused by arson.  In addition, heat and strong wind contribute the spread of fires.



Fires in Southern France: Four died and 8 000 hectares devastated 

Source: Le Monde, 29 July 2003

President Jacques Chirac promised  “sanctions of an extraordinary gravity” against the pyromaniacs, who seem to be the cause of several fires:  Incendiary compositions  have been found near the hotspots.

On Tuesday at daybreak the water bombers began again their rotations over the three fires still in progress in Le Var, where two British vacationers died in the flames.  Moreover  900 firemen continued to fight Tuesday morning against the flames, wich had destroyed 7. 500 hectares of pine forests.

The fire front spread of several kilometers and reached on Monday around 11 p.m. the periphery of the seaside resort of Sainte-Maxime on the gulf of Saint-Tropez, causing scenes of panic, plunging the city in darkness and making the telephone impracticable. 

According to a first official assessment, four people died. Between 50 and 60 houses were destroyed or touched by the flames.  The firemen and  the mayor of Frejus, Elie Brun, denounced “the criminal behavior of the pyromaniacs”, noting that about thirty hotspots  had been counted on Monday, “often at the same time and in places close to the others”. “On Frejus incendiary compositions,  i.e. bottles with wicks inside, were found”, affirmed the mayor of Frejus. 



Fires in Southern France: Italian reinforcement

Source: Le Monde, 29 July 2003

Civil Safety had to appeal on  Monday with reinforcement of Italian firefighters to fight fires which devastate southern France. The fires are without precedent in terms of violence and simultanety. 

In Corsica the fires are spreading in the north of Bonifacio where a man was seriously burned and operations of evacuations were carried out by air and sea.

In Hautes-Alpes a hundred hectares were destroyed near Montbrison.



For fire statistics of France : See GFMC statistics page for France:



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