– I have never seen anything like it. It smells like a midsummer bonfire and the whole sky is apricot-coloured, says the HBL reporter Maria Gestrin Hagner located in Portugal.
Just before 19:00 Finnish time, the population alarm went off in the municipality of Cascais, just west of the capital Lisbon. A large forest fire is raging in the area.
The highway has already been blocked and the fire, which is burning near the municipality’s hospital, is being fought by more than 500 firefighters, reports Portuguese RTP.
– A population alarm has gone off, but it no longer beeps. The tourists seem to be walking around as usual, but some locals have pulled out face masks from the pandemic, says Gestrin Hagner as water-bombing planes circle above her.
The fire comes just days before the Pope visits the region, on the second of August he will visit Cascais. According to Gestrin-Hagner, up to a million people can then gather in the region.
— EvoCentral (@evocentralnews) July 25, 2023
Finland sends expert help
On Tuesday, the Ministry of the Interior announced that Finland will send 48 rescue workers to Portugal to help fight the fires.
This after Portugal requested help via the EU’s civil protection mechanism. The first group will travel to Portugal on August 16 and the second group of rescue workers will leave on September 1.
“One of the goals of emergency deployment is to seek experience in and learn about the tactics, techniques and equipment for extinguishing various terrain fires,” says Matti Inkeroinencoordinator for international rescue operations at the Rescue Institute in a press release.