The forest fire that destroyed about 10,000 ha of vegetation in central Portugal is still not fixed.
On Thursday, columns of smoke continued to rise above the wooded hills on the east side of the town of Manteigas, where the back and forth of water bomber helicopters could be heard as they tried to slow the progression of the flames.
“The fire remains active despite favorable developments,” commented Civil Protection Commander Miguel Cruz during a press briefing at midday.
Since Saturday, several slopes of the surrounding mountains have been completely blackened by fire, now covered with charred pines.
According to the authorities, the fire caused eleven minor injuries among the firefighters.
A campsite and a river beach were evacuated on Wednesday and a total of 26 people were temporarily displaced from their homes and two second homes were damaged.
A protected area
According to a still provisional estimate provided by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), the area burned by this fire, which broke out on Saturday in the municipality of Covilha, corresponds to one tenth of the 100,000 ha of this geo- world park classified by Unesco in 2020.
The biodiversity of the Serra da Estrela natural park is "the first victim" of these fires, regretted the association for the defense of the environment Quercus, considering that these fires are in particular the result of an "abandonment of forests".
Read alsoPortugal, Spain, Greece ... Western Europe struggling with fires linked to the heat wave
Portugal, which is experiencing an exceptional drought this year, also experienced the hottest month of July in nearly a century, according to the national meteorological institute.
Since the beginning of the year, some 74,000 ha have already gone up in smoke, according to the latest estimates from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).