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Forest fires

#1
Anyone thinking of a route in N Portugal should perhaps consider delaying their trip. 97% of the country is now suffering what is officially termed 'severe' or 'extreme' drought, and this is leading to some devastating forest fires. Fire risk is officially 'maximum', some areas in the N are closed off, and even the main Coimbra-Porto road was closed for a while recently.

See articles in publico.pt
http://www.publico.clix.pt/shownews.asp ... idCanal=59
current Voz de Galicia
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/inicio/not ... TO=3904868
or in English last week on the BBC site
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4665267.stm
 

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ivar

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#2
Saw the news last night and the forest fires in northern Portugal are still burning quite strong. Over 20 major fires are reported.

Yesterday the main highway between Porto and Lisbon was closed for several hours. I saw pictures of cars on a 4 lane highway driving about 10 meters from a major fire. That was just before they stopped traffic.

So if you are on your way out the door to walk el Camino Portuguese, please check with the locals once on the ground.

Buen Camino,
Ivar
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#5
I drove from close to Ribadeo (north coast close to Asturias) to Santiago yesterday, and we had overcast and some slight rain almost all the way.

The papers reported that this helped on the smaller fires that burn in Galicia at the moment.

Don't know if this helped anything in Portugal, but I hope so. Today the sun is back, but not as warm as earlier weeks.

Ivar
 

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#6
ivar said:
Don't know if this helped anything in Portugal
don't think so: according to weatheronline, the only place in Portugal (apart from the Azores) with rain yesterday was Viana, with <0.1mm - barely enough to register in the gauge. Has been some in Lisbon this morning though.
 

ivar

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#8
I heard this on the radio this morning as well.

4500 firefighters are working putting out these fires, 11 have died doing so.

Galicia has as of this morning 16 fires, most of them in the southern parts of Galicia. I can see smoke when driving around outside Santiago. But nothing compared to what is going on in Portugal.

Ivar
 
#11
some photos of Galician fires here
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/canales/g ... /fotos.htm

Summary of situation in Med countries on BBC site
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4694511.stm
plus today's situation in Portugal
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4175922.stm

N Atlantic depressions are beginning to form again as we approach the equinox, and frontal systems are forecast across W Europe in the next few days - should bring some rain, though it looks like Portugal may miss out.
 
#12
I am a firewalk instructor and have tend quite some fires... but this is enormous!

Too much fires that are rather big and (what I see on the news) it's a bit chaotic how everybody is trying to kill the fires.
Hopefully there's going to be some rain in Spain and Portugal soon... I think that's the best and quickest ways of ending this, but that's not up to us unfortunately.

But rain isn't everything, as we can see in Austria, Germany, Switzerland etc. 2 total opposites of weather and weather problems in Europe... at this point I'm very happy to live in Holland.
 
#13
Do you have any more news about the effects of the forest fires on the Camino portugues from Oporto? We have anxious enquirers in London?
 

ivar

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#14
I have not heard anything regarding the fires in Portugal in a long time. I was looking at some newspapers from Portugal, have a look here for the latest comment I found on the fire:
http://portugalresident.com/portugalres ... p?s=INPORT

In Galicia the weather has turned to the better related to the fires. We only had about 2 days with light ran, but the temperatures has gone down (this morning 12c, my guess we will have a max of 26-28c).

A few days ago there where only 2 fires left in Galicia, I am guessing that they are out by now. I saw the Galician news yesterday and nothing was mentioned.

Ivar
 

ivar

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#15
Ok, so after the last post I have seen another helicopter working on putting out a fire about 3km from my house. It worked for about 1 hour and it seems to be under control now.

I guess this shows that it is stil dry and anything can happen at any time.

Ivar
 
#16
according to the Portuguese Fire Service, only 1 fire is still burning, E of Braga. http://www2.snbpc.pt/pls/portal/GCONTEU ... values=641

There's a dossier on the fires on one of the Portuguese news sites http://dossiers.publico.pt/dossier.asp?id=1454

There's been no word on the Fatima-Porto route but I would guess it's been shelved for the moment. I think the authorities have other priorities.

It would be interesting to have some 1st-hand accounts, but ISTM the Galician part would be ok, but anyone thinking of the Portuguese section might be better postponing their trip.
 
#18
Hi Peter and Ivar,
thanks for all the info. on fires.
Will fly from London to Oporto tomorrow. Starting the walk from Oporto on Wednesday September 7. So Ivar, you will have first hand accounts of what is going on with respect to fires soon.
Expect to arrive in Santiago on or about September 20.
Cheers.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#20
We had 3, 30 minute showers at my house (15 minutes outside Santiago) yesterday. We still have some clouds today with some wind. No rain so far, but it might come at any moment.

Someone walking must be prepared for any kind of weather today, it changes fast.

Ivar
 
#21
Good morning from sunny Oporto, after very dark skies early in the morning. Information on fires so far is sketchy. Apparently none from Oporto to Tui. Stopped at the Centro de Estudios Jacobeos and the gentleman there said no fires. Went to the Pilgrims office, which is closed until 2 pm, so I might go later this afternoon.
Starting pilgrimage tomorrow morning, as long as my friend gets her backpack which did not make it this morning from Boston.
Cheers.
 

ivar

Administrator
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#22
I will be driving down to Braga tomorrow, and I will keep my eyes open for smoke on the horizon.

I doubt that there is anything, since we have gotten a lot of rain in the last few days in Santiago. Hopefully this is also true in Portugal.
 
#23
Hi Ivar,
We have just made it to Barcelos. Lots of burnt patches. No fires now. Actually, it rained on us for most of the morning, definitely no fires.
Cheers. Ilona
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#24
Hello there,

Great to see that you are well on your way to Santiago. There is no need to worry about forest fires, at least in northern Portugal these days. You could see that they had gotten some much needed rain.

My wife and I did drive down to Valenca and then down to Braga yesterday and it was easy to see that they had had a lot of forest fires. Did not see any fire or smoke now.

Braga had 50-50 cloud-blue sky with some cold wind (fall is coming we had about 20c in Braga). The further north we went, more clouds... Vigo had full cloud cover. At Pontevedra we got the first rain, and then Santiago it really rained (it is still is raining).

Ivar
 
#25
Just made it to Santiago !!!
No forest fires at all. Beautiful weather for most of the route.
Fall came day before yesterday, with blue skies and cooler temperatures. I will now enjoy Santiago for a few days.
Cheers.
:D
 
#27
Good to know that there is one point where to get information on fires !
Although I have not been able to go back this year, I will certainly keep the info for next year.
Cheers
 
#28
Hello Peter

I am leaving the 6th of September to walk the camino portugues and onto Finistere. I have seen the site but don't speak portugese. Is it possible to do the camino after the fires? Are the signs still visible? I hope you can help me with this

Greetings Estrella
 
#29
the website currently shows no significant fires active. In Galicia, according to a note on the Amigos website, the Portuguese and most of the Fisterra routes are now open again. http://www.amigosdelcamino.com/web/noti ... oc&cod=199

However, as was noted recently in another thread (which I can't locate just at present), waymarks are often placed on trees and may well have disappeared - which could make route-finding in the woodland sections a little tricky :?
 
#30
Thank you Peter!
Yes I did read the same thing about the signs, so I will call the pilgrimsassociation in Porto just to be sure. I will post my findings here for other pilgrims that were thinking of going.

:) Estrella
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#33
I just came back from the Pilgrim Information Office in Rua do Vilar (the pilgrims office had a looong line), and they had no information on the status of the markers.

She mentioned that maybe the first part out of Santiago towards Finisterre might be a problem... except for that she did not know.

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
#34
muchas gracias Ivar!
I called the portugese association and they adviced, if possible to postpone the trip. (how long does it take to regrow a forest though! :? )The roadsigns and yellow arrows are not really a problem, the camino is still well indicated, but a couple of days walking through burned forest.. not sure that is so lifting for the spirit.
In Spain there is a lot of damage between Pontevedra and Padron and what you said the way to Finistere.
Find this very difficult, started to doubt even more now.
Walked the camino frances last year and I had such a great experience!

Hasta luego!
Estrella
 
#35
from memory, there's not that much of the Galician section of the Camino Portugues that's in woodland - perhaps 10%? On the final approach into Santiago, where the route swings round to the west, if the trees have burned down that might be an improvement, as you'll have better views of the city :)
 

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