GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

Forest Fires in Southern Europe

31  July 2003, 10:00

Latest Satellite Images:

Fig.1. : 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.2. 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.3. Fire-weather forecast for Europe, 01 August  2003.

(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)

Southern Europe-Overlook
31 July 2003, 08:00

Firefighters are trying to contain the last of the major forest fires which have devastated parts of southern France in recent days, killing five people. But several fresh blazes broke out on Wednesday, including one at Salon-de-Provence, where 17 firefighters were hurt, two seriously. Dry weather and soaring temperatures have led to hundreds of blazes throughout Europe. More than 500 firefighters and 300 soldiers have been fighting forest fires in central Portugal, one of which killed an elderly man as it swept through his home. Temperatures of 40C have hindered the operation, and the flames have charred large areas north-east of the capital, Lisbon.

Source: BBC News

Forest fires in Portugal
31 July 2003, 11:48

Lisbon (AP)  A man lost his life in a fire in central Portugal, as the Portuguese press agency Lusa reported on Wednesday. The fire broke out on Sunday and devastated far areas in the proximity of the city Castelo Branco. Temperatures close 40 degrees and strong winds obstructed the fire-fighting operations. More than 500 firefighters, 300 soldiers and nine waterbombers were in use.

Portugal: Army and fire brigades are fighting against forest fires
30 July  2003, 08:00

(AFP) Approximately hundred soldiers and more than 250 firemen  fought on Tuesday in northern Portugal against an enormous forest fire. According to fire-brigade information strong winds, high temperatures and the hilly area close Silvares (260 kilometers North of Lisbon) make fire-fighting operations more difficult . Firefighters at ground were supported by four helicopters and six waterbombers. The fire started on Sunday afternoon. Occasionally the telephone and current supply of the town Castelo Branco broke down. Authority representatives assumed arson as a cause of the fire.

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

In Spain due to the persisting glow heat  forest fire risk is increasing. Near the capital Madrid a fire destroyed already hundreds of hectare forest land. Pine and oak forests with high ecological value fell the flames to victim.  The fire started of unknown causes near the artificial lake San Juan in the West of the capital.
On Thursday during a fire fighting operation near  Lleida in the Northeast of the country a small aircraft crashed into a mountain-slope. The two passengers died.
Since the weekend the temperatures in Spain are increasing slowly. At  the holiday island Mallorca, which had been most strongly affected by the African heat front in the past days, the thermometer climbed again clearly over 30 degrees. Spanish meteorologists assuming this month will be in far parts of the country the hottest June of all times.

Source: ORF

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.

For more information look at the media page:  
Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

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

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