Tourists have been evacuated after wildfires broke out in the Algarve region of Portugal as the country grappled with a heatwave and temperatures topping 30C.
The Quinta Do Lago resort, owned by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, released a statement and said some areas near the fire had been evacuated as a “precautionary measure”.
The statement reads: “Following the fire situation in Quinta do Lago, the management of Quinta do Lago Group would like to reassure all residents that it is closely monitoring the situation with the relevant authorities working on site.
“Some of the most critical areas near the fire have been evacuated as a precaution. We too have made the decision to close our golf courses, sports facilities and outlets to ensure the well-being of our residents and guests.
“We would also like to appeal to the entire community to stay calm and stay tuned while local authorities on the ground are working hard. Keep.”
Declan O’Sullivan from Dublin is vacationing in the area with his wife, daughter and some of his daughter’s friends.
Mr O’Sullivan said some well-known restaurants were at risk of being burned down as a result of the fires and local authorities were concerned the pine trees around the Quinta do Lago resort could catch fire.
“We live in the resort of Quinta do Lago, a very popular area with Irish holidaymakers. There are a number of separate resorts within the resort,” he said.
“Last night my daughter came home with some friends and reported that there were lots of fires in the area and then we woke up this morning and the sky was pretty black with smoke and soot in the area.
“There were helicopters flying around to fetch water, there was a serious fire at a neighboring resort called Pinheiros Altos so the helicopters have been dealing with that fire all morning.
“At our resort called Vilar Do Golf, which would likely have 180 houses, we were evacuated this morning and we will be allowed to return shortly.
“The fires in Quinta do Lago appear to be under control but fires have started in the neighboring resort of Vale Do Lobo and further towards Vila Sol.
“There are many restaurants between Quinta do Lago and Vale Do Lobo and the fire appears to be engulfing the adjacent bushland with these restaurants being threatened so we understand that Vale Do Lobo has also been evacuated.
“So people are either standing on the beach or going to higher ground trying to control the fires down there. I think everyone is safe and the volunteer firefighters are doing a phenomenal job.”
Fires that broke out in Faro near the University of the Algarve and Faro Airport yesterday have spread to other regions including residential areas today, according to local reports.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office announced that it is currently providing consular assistance to Irish citizens in the Algarve.
It has updated its travel advice for Portugal and warns Irish travelers to be aware of wildfires in the Algarve.
“Irish citizens in Portugal should follow the news carefully as the situation can change quickly. You should follow the advice of the local authorities and be prepared to change your travel plans at short notice.
“If you’re in the vicinity of wildfire, call 112,” he advises.
“Forest fires are a feature of summer in Portugal, most fires are quickly brought under control but some can escalate into major events, particularly when the weather is very hot and windy. Take special care not to start a fire and follow standard fire safety precautions, keep away from fire.”
A spokesman told Independent.ie: “Any Irish citizen in the region who needs consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Ireland in Lisbon.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/algarve-wildfires-force-evacuations-in-popular-tourist-area-41838076.html Algarve wildfires force evacuations in popular tourist area