Fires in Portugal have destroyed more than 13,000 hectares in recent days.
Colossal pillars of fire, sweltering heat and lack of vision: A Portuguese journalist photographed and commented on his Wednesday night crossing of a violent fire while driving on the country’s main highway, in the grip of a heat wave and wildfires.
“I didn’t expect this situation,” Rui Tocayana, a Portuguese TSF radio reporter, gasps at the wheel of his car while filming with his phone a journey of about two kilometers on the A1 motorway, near Aveiro (north).
On both sides of the path, plants devour a fierce night fire, still active on Thursday afternoon and fought by nearly 400 firefighters.
13,500 hectares burned in Portugal
Between crackling flames several meters high and the formation of a fire tunnel, the journalist describes a “dangerous” scenario, explaining that he decided to close his car windows because they were “too hot”, or that she did not see “nothing”. Because of the smoke from the fire.
Finally, he managed to bypass the fire and sigh of relief as he approached the exit that would allow him to reach Aveiro from Porto (north). A few minutes after it passes, traffic will pause on this part of the A1 motorway.
For a week, Portugal was exposed to a heat wave that simultaneously reached other Western European countries, and Portugal recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in many areas, which even exceeded 45 degrees Celsius in some places. Last week’s fires, fueled by scorching temperatures, killed one person, injured about sixty, evacuated 860 people, and destroyed or damaged about sixty homes.
According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), the largest fires have engulfed an area of about 13,500 hectares in Portugal in recent days.
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