I had thought I had made my last post on the Pedrógão Grande fire that killed 64 people, but it appears not.
I wanted to avoid the aftermath of funerals, tales of burnt out houses, and recriminations about who could and should have done what when.
However, a development yesterday means I need to rejoin the fray.
The IPMA, the Portuguese equivalent of the Meteorological Office, has said it has analysed the data around the time that the fire allegedly stared.
I have no expertise in IPMA capability in Portugal in 2017, so I have to run with what has been reported.
It has been stated that in the period of 5 minutes before the start of the fire and 5 minutes after, there were 10 lightning strikes, but of these only 2 reached the ground.
There were 3 lightning strikes ‘close’ to the start point, but these were 3 hours or more after the blaze started, and the nearest was 7.3km (4.5mls) from the alleged source.
How is this record building up? It seems the fire was first reported to emergency services at 2.43pm, and this is being used as the time of origin. I haven’t a clue as to how the IPMA measures lightning strikes, gains a location for them, or works out whether they were ground strikes or not.
It seems the recriminations have started. It is claimed the emergency services were slow to respond, to both the fire and the resulting injuries. This happens to be the part I particularly wished to avoid, because I have no idea what a reasonable response is. And with 64 dead, this angle is likely to get very sour indeed.
The IPMA says the weather was high temperature, low humidity, extreme dryness, and that for 50 minutes around 7.50pm, the blaze was fanned by high winds.
The IPMA thinks the probability that the source was a lightning strike is very small, though it has not ruled this out entirely. This of course raises the question as to which alternative source might be likely for the 64 deaths.