A massive wildfire swept through a natural park near the popular holiday destination of Cascais, prompting an urgent response from hundreds of Portuguese firefighters. The blaze, which erupted in a mountainous area within the Sintra-Cascais natural park, posed a significant challenge to firefighters due to strong winds exacerbating the flames. The fire broke out at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), engulfing approximately 145 square kilometres (56 square miles) of land west of the capital, Lisbon.
To combat the wildfire, over 600 firefighters were deployed, supported by 189 vehicles, and water-bombing planes joined the battle from the skies. However, as night fell, the aerial operations had to be halted, further complicating firefighting efforts.
Residents of a nearby village were deeply concerned as the flames approached their homes. Faced with the threat, they valiantly attempted to protect their properties using buckets of water and hosepipes. The strong winds played a significant role in fanning the flames, leaving the community on high alert. One resident expressed their fears, stating, “The fear now is that it will get to the houses.”
Portugal is no stranger to wildfires, according to data from the European Union. Though the country has, fortunately, been spared from the recent heatwave that has caused fatalities and devastation in other parts of southern Europe, extreme weather events have been causing havoc globally. July witnessed record-breaking temperatures in China, the United States, and southern Europe, leading to forest fires, water shortages, and a surge in heat-related hospital admissions.