Fires in Portugal


22 August 2005

GFMC summary: 
Portugal is suffering from an unprecedented drought. Since Saturday, 20 August 2005, about 3,600 fire fighters are working on more than 50 wildfires. Smoke plumes are reaching Lisbon now. Almost 134,500 hectares of forests, woodlands and other lands have been affected by the fires during the fire season of 2005 so far. The biggest fire was raging near Pampilhosa da Serra in central Portugal. So far, the fires have killed at least 11 firefighters and four civilians this year. 


Current media information: 


Latest satellite scenes showing fires and fire affected areas in Northern Portugal:

Fires continued to burn across dry woodlands in Portugal in mid-August 2005. High temperatures and low relative humidity are adding to firefighters’ difficulties in controlling the blazes, which have burned off and on in central and northern Portugal since July. This image of the region was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on 21 August 2005. Active fire locations have been marked with red dots. 


21 August 2005
13:55 hrs UTC
(Image courtesy MODIS)
True colour: Bands 1-4-3
False Colour: Bands 7-2-1

The links provide a 250 m resolution for both scenes

The infrared-enhanced image makes burned areas (deep reddish brown) stand out from healthy vegetation (bright green) and water (dark blue). Clouds appear bright blue. 


Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI):

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite also enhanced the previous image from the 21 August 2005 by including the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) which is strongly correlated to surface temperatures and surface moisture status.

Click on scene for a 2km resolution


ECPC Fire Weather Forecast: 

The GFMC displays selected and daily updated  Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts for Europe. These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecasts. For background information refer to the ECPC products description page.

FWI forecast for the next 60hrs

Precipitation amount forecast for the next 60 hrs

Surface temperatures forecast for the next 60hrs

Relative humidity forecast for the next 60hrs

(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)


Satellite-derived vegetation health map:

The general stress situation ishigher this year as compared to 2004.
(Source: NOAA/NESDIS Current Vegetation Health Image Maps)


For more details on fires in Portugal:




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