“The fire is still active, with a very extensive front, but with reduced intensity. At the moment, it only burns in the municipality of Odemira”, explained Rui André, taking stock of the situation around 11am. The mayor told Lusa that, even on 18 August, "anticipating that the fire would progress towards Monchique, a set of tracking machines were moved to the ground and anticipation measures were developed to prevent eventual entry into the municipality" of the district of Faro.
"The strategy worked, we managed to stop the fire before entering the municipality, despite a small eucalyptus fringe that was burned", stressed the mayor of Monchique, municipality that in 2018 had a fire that spread to the municipalities of Silves, Odemira and Portimão, which consumed an area of more than 26,000 hectares.
Rui André added that combat and consolidation operations will continue throughout the day and probably the ones after that, “because it is necessary to cover the entire perimeter of the burned area, with tracking machines”. “In advance, we have to make some interventions for fire, if it evolves in that direction, find a discontinuity zone in which it cannot progress or so that means can be positioned for a more effective combat”, he stressed.
Rui André indicated that on 18 August, as a precaution, a person was removed from their home in Cansino, in the parish of Alferce, due to the intense smoke that ran towards the village. “He spent the night with relatives and it was not necessary to activate our area prepared to receive people in these circumstances”, he added. According to Civil Protection data, at around 11am, the fire that broke out in Odemira was being fought by 698 operatives supported by 233 vehicles and nine air vehicles.
Speaking to Lusa, at around 7:30am, a source from the Beja District Command for Relief Operations (CDOS) said that fire fighting was evolving favourably, with one of the five fire sectors, located in Odemira, having been dominated. The flames, which forced the removal of 17 people from their homes in the municipalities of Odemira, Monchique and Silves, seriously injured a 20-year-old civilian who suffered burns and was transported to hospital, and a firefighter, victim of a sprain and assisted on site.