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Forest Fires in Europe

28 July 2004

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Terra 09:55 UTC
28 July 2004

Terra 11:35 UTC
28 July 2004

Aqua 13:15 UTC
28 July 2004

Fires in Southern Europe
Source: MODIS

Two killed in Spain as forest fires engulf Europe

MADRID (AFP) Jul 29, 2004
Two people burnt to death after their car was engulfed by a huge forest fire in Spain, officials said Wednesday as firefighters battled blazes in many parts of sweltering southern Europe.

Some 700 Portuguese firefighters, backed by water trucks, helicopters and airplanes, were battling to put out seven major fires burning out of control across the country, while in France authorities said they had succeeded in containing a large blaze.
The worst-hit area of Portugal was the southern Algarve province, one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, as two large fires which had burned in a central mountain area since Monday joined into one large blaze overnight near the city of Loule.
Roughly 350 firefighters were at the scene of the fire, which has already reduced at least 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of scrub and farmland, including hundreds of cork trees, to ash, and was threatening dozens of homes on Wednesday night.
Local residents used tree branches and buckets of water to help firefighters fight the flames, which shot up above the trees and lit up the night sky, images on private television SIC showed.
“I will not live long enough to see these hills the way they used to be,” one elderly woman told the station, fighting back tears as she stood surrounded by charred trees and smouldering earth.
Loule mayor Seruca Emidio told state radio RDP he would apply to have the region declared a disaster area so as to qualify for government aid.
Two Canadair water-dropping planes were expected to arrive in Portugal from France Thursday, joining aircraft already in the country from Greece, Italy and Spain.
The international aid follows an appeal from Lisbon made over the weekend.
Four firefighters have been injured, and dozens of homes have been destroyed, in Portugal since the wildfires began Saturday when temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some parts.
One 42-year-old woman suffered first and second-degree burns as she tried to return to her home in the central village of Cumeada Tuesday to evacuate her three children from the approaching flames, local media reported.
Meanwhile in southwestern Spain, officials said two people perished when their car became trapped in a fire on Tuesday near Huelva, not far from the Portuguese border.
Flames were leaping up to 20 metres (almost 70 feet) into the air in some areas around Huelva, where about 3,000 hectares of land have been charred by fire that is also threatening precious local wildlife.
Some 500 people were evacuted from their homes in the region because of the danger posed by the approaching flames while 125 received hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.
Fires in the northwestern region of Galicia have also burnt more than 1,000 hectares of land.
On Monday, officials said four people had died as a result of the heatwave gripping parts of Spain, taking the total death toll this summer to 11.
Meanwhile in southern France more than 3,000 hectares of land near the 2,000-year-old town of Nimes have been consumed since the fires first broke out last weekend in dry wooded areas frequently at risk in the hot summer months.
“You’d think you were on the moon,” French municipal official Vivian May said as he surveyed the smouldering landscape.
“There are no flowers, no insects. You can’t hear any sounds of the bush. It’s a catastrophe for the flora and fauna.”
Some 700 firefighters were still at the scene of the blaze, which burned several homes and forced the evacutation of some 2,000 people, although officials said it was now under control.
Authorities in the three countries suspect several of the fires were started deliberately or through criminal negligence.

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 30 July 2004
Source: EFFIS

Spain Fire Weather Index for 30 July 2004
Source: EFFIS

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

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