Fires in Portugal 14 September 2003
Source: MODIS TERRA
Fire-weather forecast for Europe
Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for this week (left) and the predicted FWI total for next month (right) for Europe.
(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)
Smoke Blankets Lisbon as Forest Fires Rake Portugal
LISBON – More than 1,000 firefighters battled to control forest blazes in Portugal on the weekend including two that blanketed the capital Lisbon in smoke.
With Portugal already facing its worst forest fire season on record, Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso blamed an upsurge this week on arson.
“Things are very difficult when the firefighters put out fires and criminal hands light them,” he said in remarks carried on private TSF radio. Durao Barroso vowed a complete investigation.
A spokesman for the National Emergency Operations Center said firefighters were trying to contain three blazes, including one in coastal mountains about 120 miles south of Lisbon. Fires in Loures, about 10 miles north of central Lisbon, and in Mafra, about 25 miles north of the capital, wreathed Lisbon in smoke by late afternoon.
Lisbon firefighters were flooded by hundreds of calls about the smoke, Lusa news agency reported.
“This is bad,” said Jose da Silva Antunes, 65, as he peered through the eye-stinging haze that replaced Lisbon’s normal late-summer sunshine.
“I’ve seen really thick smoke before, but nothing like this year.”
The blazes have been fanned by heat that neared 99 degrees Fahrenheit in Lisbon on the weekend. The weather service forecast a slight drop in temperatures in coming days.
Fires have destroyed about 11 percent of Portugal’s forests for the year through August 31, according to the Agriculture Ministry. At least 18 people have died in fires this year.
Source: Planet Ark
Forest Fires in Italy: Update of Area Burned during the Fire Season of 2003
The official statistics of Italy (provided by the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, Corpo Forestale dello Stato) for the fire season 2003 (up to 13 August 2003) reveal the occurrence of a total of 7,916 wildfires which affected 24,328 ha of forest land and 34,574 ha of non-forest land, totalling 58,902 ha, with an average area burned by fire event of 7.4 ha.
Forest Fires in Portugal and Spain and France: Update of Area Burned during the Fire Season of 2003
According to Dr. Jose Miguel Pereira, Principal Investigator, Cartography Centre, Tropical Research Institute, Portugal, the total area burned in Portugal this summer (up until 18 August 2003) is 417.000 ha. The largest contiguous burned patch, resulting from the coalescence of various independent large fires is slightly bigger than 100.000 ha. The recent statistical data from Spain (official release from the Ministry for Environment) show a total area affected by wildfires (up to 17 August 2003) of 99.863 ha. According to the Promethée statisticcal database the forest area burned in France during this summer (up to 21 August 2003) is 15.832 ha.