GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

Forest Fires in Europe

28 July 2004

A fireman drags a water hose as he fights a forest fire in Mafra,30 km (20 miles) north of Lisbon, July 26, 2004.
Hundreds of firefighters battled forest fires across Portugal on Monday in a heatwave which has brought temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).
Source: Planet Ark

Latest Satellite Images

Terra 10:50 UTC

27 July 2004

Terra 10:55 UTC

27 July 2004

Fires in Southern Europe
Source: MODIS

Portugal seeking planes from abroad to battle fires

LISBON (AFP) Jul 27, 2004
Portugal called in the military on Tuesday to help firefighters battle wildfires which have burned across much of the country for four days as water-dropping aircraft started arriving from other European nations to help put out the flames.
Interior Minister Daniel Sanches said 250 soldiers would help more than 1,000 firefighters battle some 30 fires across the country, including five considered “major” blazes.
The troops would join another 250 soldiers who are already on the ground and would be used as fire spotters in particularly vulnerable areas, he said.
Two firefighters were slightly injured while battling a fire near the southern town of Portalegre which was threatening homes, emergency services workers said.
Another fireman suffered serious burns on Monday and a fire truck was destroyed by flames near the central town of Castelo Branco.
The military had also pressed one of its own military aircraft into service which would join three Canadair water-dropping planes which were expected to arrive from Greece and Spain later on Tuesday, the interior minister said.
The international aid follows an appeal from Lisbon made over the weekend.
Four other European nations — Germany, Greece, Italy and Britain — have also pledged to send nine more helicopters and two water-dropping planes to Portugal over the coming days.
But with high temperatures affecting much of Europe, many nations said they could not spare planes at the moment. France said it could provide aid but only after Thursday.
France was struggling with its own wildfires, which burned nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of land inthe south of the country over the weekend.
Late Tuesday, around 130 French firefighters aided by water-dropped planes were battling wind-fanned blazes that swept across around 800 hectares of forest outside the southern city of Nimes.
The most hard-hit region in Portugal was the southernmost province of Algarve, one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, where temperatures have reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in recent days in some parts.
Local residents using hoses and plastic buckets scrambled to protect their homes from flames near the central Algarve town of Loule where a large fire has burning in a mountainous region for more than 30 hours, images on state television RTP showed.
The fire had already destroyed more than 3,000 hectares of farm and scrubland, Loule mayor Seruca Emidio said.
“You work you entire life to build a house and in a minute it could be gone,” one elderly woman told the television station as she fought back tears.
Elsewhere in the Algarve firefighters said they had managed to get a blaze which had burned since Sunday in the nearby Monchique mountains under control overnight.
At least six homes were engulfed by flames and some 4,000 hectares of land on the mountain rage were destroyed by the fire, local officials said.
A popular spa located on the mountains, one of the the only green areas in the dry province, evacuated its guests overnight as a precautionary measure.
The Monchique mountains, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Algarve coast where the resorts and hotels that are popular with foreign tourists are located, was already badly hurt by the wave of wildfires which swept Portugal last summer.
In 2003, more than 400,000 hectares of forest and undergrowth were damaged by fire, 20 people died in fires and about 100 homes were destroyed. The damage amounted to more than a billion euros (1.2 billion dollars).
In the wake of last year’s fire disaster, the government boosted spending on firefighting equipment and created a secretary of state for forests in an effort to improve its capacity to deal with wildfires.
But with fires once again raging across the country, the centre-right government came under fire in parliament for not doing enough to prevent them, a charge Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes rejected.
“We are facing unprecedented climatic conditions this year, but there is also an unprecedented capacity to respond,” he said.
Source: Terra Daily

Fire-weather forecast for Europe

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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)

European Forest Fires Information System (EFFIS)

Portugal Fire Weather Index for 29 July 2004
Source: EFFIS

Europe Fire Weather Index for 29 and 30 July 2004
Source: EFFIS

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