Portugal and Spain Suffer From Their Own Dangerous Wildfires


Sergio Azenha

A woman seeing her property wrecked and burnt down

Alyssa Pepito, Photojournalist

California isn’t the only place where fires have erupted suddenly. The citizens of Portugal and Spain, being so close together, were both affected by the fires which started mid-October. Strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia contributed to the spreading of the fires to both countries, especially in the forest territory.

The wildfires started in the forests and grew larger and larger as time passed. With more force from the winds, however, the fires spread to villages and towns of Portugal with a great population. Citizens were forced to flee their homes and get away from the fire as quickly as they could. Some were killed in the process of trying to flee from the fire.

Then, the fires made their way to the border between Portugal and Spain and ended up affecting both countries. Although Spain had fewer deaths than Portugal, there were still quite an amount of casualties. It was counted that at least 39 people had passed away due to the fires from both Portugal and Spain, while 63 from Portugal were injured. In Spain, there was a report that their population centers were safe and able to be protected. However, for Portugal only, the death toll was reported to likely increase from the previous fires of their home back in June, in which the fire killed 64 people.

On Sunday, October 15, more than 6,000 firefighters were given the task to try and settle more than 500 wildfires spread out across the forests of Northern Portugal. There were almost not enough people to take down the fire, thus needing possible help from other countries. On Monday, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa reported to the world that “this country has been plagued with the largest wave of fires since 2006” and confessed how “this is a moment of mourning, of showing our condolences to the families of the victims” (CNN). Costa made a promise to prevent enormous fires like these to happen in the future.

Following that, on Tuesday, Portugal had began a mourning period for three days in order to honor the dead and injured. At this time, there were still fires that stood and were almost impossible to put out. Firefighters were still out there containing the ones located in unpopulated areas. Tyler Padgett (11) saw the news about Portugal’s “massive wildfires” and how they were “destroying so much land and hope[s] that the countries get help right away.”

The world should not only be aware with their own nation’s problems, but also other countries’ problems as well and lend help whenever needed. Spain and Portugal are currently getting the help they need and are trying their best to recover from these horrendous fires.