The rural fire that broke out on Monday in Castro Marim has already affected an area of ​​around 9,000 hectares, after registering an “expansion rate of 650 hectares per hour”, according to the commander of relief operations.

Richard Marques said that the fire spread “like lightning” to the municipalities of Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira during the afternoon of Monday, “with great intensity, reaching a perimeter of 43 kilometres, and covering an affected area of about 9,000 hectares”.

“The potential of this fire is 20,000 hectares,” he added at a press conference in Castro Marim.

The commander mentioned that, despite the difficult weather conditions, it was possible during the night to “execute the strategic action plan” and that this morning the main objective of “sustaining the capacity to stop” the progression of the flames is being consolidated.

Despite the material damage, with houses and crops affected, only one firefighter has been injured, without seriousness.

At 12:22pm there were 630 personnel tackling the fire, supported by 209 vehicles and 8 aircraft