Portugal – Pedrógão Grande #2

Correio da Manhã did a drone flight over one of the worst incidents on the N236 around the Pedrógão Grande forest fire, and from that I noticed something odd. The tree trunks are blackened but intact. The tree tops are fine. It wasn’t the trees that were burning. It was the undergrowth.

This van is typical of what happened to vehicles caught in the fire. The tyres have burned off. There is no glass to be seen. The front section of the bodywork, plastic, has been melted off. The van happens to have struck a tree at a fair speed, causing the bonnet to collapse. The tree is blackened but otherwise unscathed. In the background you can see the trees still have tree tops.

This scene is the clearest I can find of what was going on. Unfortunately, the precise location has not been given, so I can’t run checks on it. However, you can see that it is not the trees in the forest that are burning. The fire is limited to near ground level. I suppose forest fire is the correct term but I had always thought of a forest fire as burning lots of trees. This is more like a brush fire.

The fact that it is burning dry vegetation close to the ground explains why the fire spread so quickly.

Why does this interest me? We don’t have a forest near us now, and we won’t have one when we move. What we do have here is a lot of dense, dry undergrowth which is an obvious fire hazard. I will need to check out the situation when we make our house move, because I would prefer not to be surrounded by such tinder.

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