Fires in Portugal and Spain

FiresinPortugal and Spain

29 August 2005

Current media information:

  • Au Portugal, une rumeur accuse les pompiers du ciel d’être des pyromanes (published by, 29 August 2005)

  • Incendios forestales: apuntes para una prevención eficaz (published by, 29 August 2005)

  • Portugal arresta más de 100 personas por incendios forestales (published by, 29 August 2005)

  • Portugal: l’environnement gravement menacé par les incendies (published by, 27 August 2005)

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

The devastating fires that raged across Portugal in July and August 2005 did not spare the country’s largest park their fury. In central Portugal, almost the entire range of the country’s highest mountains, the Serra da Estrela, are part of a national park, in which a rural economy of agriculture, including herding of goats and sheep, co-exists with scenic views, significant cultural and historical sites, and good examples of glacier-carved topography.

25 August 2005

Although small fires had started and been extinguished quickly in other parts of the Serra da Estrela in June and early July, around July 19, more fires broke out in the park. These fires exploded, spreading rapidly. Residents of towns and villas in the park had to evacuate as the flames raced through drought-stressed vegetation. The results of the blazes are captured in this image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Aqua satellite from 25 August 2005. Vegetation appears in shades of red, developed areas appear white, water is blue, and burned areas are deep charcoal.

One of the worst droughts in decades combined with high temperatures is making the job of firefighters in Portugal and Spain difficult and dangerous, as they battle dozens of fires burning in the country’s parched woodlands. Fires have been burning off and on since July 2005, and by late August, the country is scattered with burn scars.

28 August 2005
13:35 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

This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows active fires (outlined in red) as well as dozens of burn scars (deep reddish brown) across Portugal and Galicia (northern Spain). Vegetation is bright green. This image was captured by MODIS on 28 August 2005.

(Source: Earth Observatory)

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)

For more details on fires in Portugal and Spain:

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