Eight people, including an infant, have been injured in Madeira by large forest fires. The fire broke out in the west of this popular Portuguese island. Restrictions on vehicle movement have been introduced.
Fires have been ongoing since Wednesday in two neighboring municipalities on the west coast – Calheta and Porto Moniz – Reuters reported. According to the authorities, the fire in the first of these communes covered 70 square kilometers, i.e. more than half of its area. Due to the fire moving quickly with strong gusts of wind, on the night from Thursday to Friday, the evacuation of people from the buildings at risk of fire began, including residents of one of the senior homes and village residents.
On Friday, it was reported that eight people were injured in connection with the fires. Among those injured is an infant.
– It was a complicated, difficult night, stressed Patricia Gaspar, Secretary of State for Civil Protection, in an interview with the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP on Friday morning.
The tourists took shelter in a cave
Due to the rapid expansion of the area occupied by the fire, the autonomous government of Madeira declared a state of emergency in both municipalities, including restrictions on vehicle movement in this part of the island.
In the mountainous part of the Porto Moniz commune, 13 tourists were found hiding in a cave, Reuters reported.
According to data from local services, there has been no threat to the health or life of tourists staying in Madeira so far.
Firefighters from Lisbon arrived in Madeira
On Friday afternoon, several hundred local firefighters were supported by a specialized group of 60 rescuers from Lisbon.
The services are already investigating the circumstances of the fires. According to the Madeira police, the fires could have been caused by intentional fire. Local services specified that on Thursday evening, officers detained the alleged arsonist.
It has been over 30 degrees Celsius in Mara for several days.