Just When We Thought The Local Fires Had Gone!

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Day 6 of the terrible fires which started in the Serra do Monchique last Friday and we thought all the action had headed south towards Silves. However, I looked out of the window to a huge plume of smoke which looked very close. A few locals also messaged me to ask if I knew anything about it. This being after I have spent the last few days chasing the fires to provide live footage via our village Facebook page to update the locals and others with an interest in São Marcos da Serra. So I jumped on the Quad bike and went off in search of the fire. It took a while to get to a vantage point as I didn’t want to be down wind of the fire for obvious reasons.

The wind was very strong which was really fanning the flames but as with previous days it was pushing the fire away from the village. Unfortunatly it was pushing it south towards the towns (and area between) Silves and Messines. Tonight, this fire is now causing a huge problem for the residents in its path and hope it can be yet again tamed before causing any serious damage.

Here are a few pictures I took from my vantage point. Watching the planes, especially the Canadair CL-415 swooping down was a fantastic sight, just a shame its in these horrible circumstances.

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Day 6: Going strong

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Another Day, The Same Fires!

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Yet again, the fires burn out of control and now it’s started to creep ever closer to larger populations such as Silves. Of course, the further south the fire reaches, the more people will be in it’s path.

Here in the São Marcos da Serra area, we again keep watching the wind direction as today a fierce front is burning not too far away, now to the South West of the village. The wind direction seems to be switching from Northerly to Westerly which is keeping the fire away from the village.

As I have done for the last couple of days I decided to help the locals in the Village by informing them via the local Facebook Page of the fire’s location.

Here are a few photos I took whilst out.


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A Crazy Day Of Watching Fires, Followed By Another “Tree of Life”

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Today has been a crazy day, after staying awake a lot of the night watching the events unfold around Monchique I woke to the reports that the fire was “heading towards São Marcos da Serra”. It seems as though the media mis-interpreted the authorities and over-exaggerated the situation. I headed to a nearby ridge to see for myself and indeed the fire was nowhere to be seen, just distance plumes of smoke. Later in the afternoon, I ventured further afield to locate the fires. It was a long way from the village which at one point did flare up quite large, however, after what seemed like it was left to burn most of the day, a few airplanes later and the smoke seemed to disappear to almost nothing.

There are still fires burning, however, the local village (and our Quinta) seem to be well out of reach currently. For the last few nights I have posted bright red glowing sky photos, but tonight, the skies are much much darker with just a faint red glow which I assume is from the fires re-establishing in the Monchique area.

You may remember a photograph I posted back in January where I used a Cork Oak as a silhouette against the setting sun.

Tonight, this same tree was backlit by the red skies of the fires. It may seem a bit dramatic, however after the last couple of nights, this is now very tame compared to what we have seen. Hopefully, the horrible events of the last few days are coming to an end.

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Tree of Life
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The Monchique Fire Is Now A Very Serious Problem

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As you may know, the fires burning in the Serra de Monchique has turned a very dark corner and is now approaching the main town of Monchique with evacuations of small areas on the outskirts of the town taking place. I know a few of you that attend my walks live in the area and my thoughts are with you and hope you come away without any major issues.

I took a quick trip up Eagle Ridge which normally has some amazing views over Serra de Monchique and the highest peak of Foia, however, as you can see it really shows just how terrible this situation is. If I’m honest, sitting up there and seeing this view almost brought a tear to my eye. If I was to guess, the ridgeline in the photo has a width of about 20kms. We can only hope the brave men and women on the front-line (and behind the scenes) can bring this monster under control before a major disaster. The lights in the foreground is my local village of São Marcos da Serra, this village is a long way from the fires and under no threat.

Forest Fires in the Serra de Monchique, Algarve
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The Fire In Monchique Still Burns

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Last night I posted a photo of the Fire in Monchique and although the latest update is that one of the 2 fronts is now under control, it still burns.

Last night, we could only see a small glow over the ridge, tonight it is a very different story. The photo looks like the fire is close, however, its not, it just because there are many mountain ridges hidden in the darkness. This line of red glow covers many kilometers of hillside.

Murphy’s Law came into play today, we had multiple Thunderstorms come through the Algarve, some with torrential rain, it seems all of them missed the area on fire!

Mountains on Fire!

Photobombed………by an Egyptian Mongoose!

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I was out again today to watch the Volta ao Algarve, this time on Foia (Algarve’s highest mountain). As the route was coming around the back of the mountain before looping and then climbing, I decided to first go to a quiet spot where I could get a shot of the peloton swooping around a hairpin.

So, I climbed up a rocky ledge and started to take some test shots when something caught my eye. I looked up and just saw something disappear into the bushes.

On checking my test shot I noticed I’d been photobombed by an Egyptian Mongoose! They are quite common in the Algarve, but not seen too often.

Here is the test shot;

What’s that in the road?

Here is a tight crop on the Mongoose.

Mongoose!