This past weekend a big wildfire in the center of Portugal (Pedrógão Grande area) killed 62 people, left the same number of people injured, and around 150 families lost their homes.
Every year the country has a number of wildfires, many of them caused directly by people. However, according to the Portuguese authorities this fire has been caused by a lightening together with the record high temperatures.
One thing that caused a big impression on me is that the majority of the dead were not people that had their homes surrounded by the forest but they were just drivers who were caught by the fire while on the road. So something like this can happen to anyone, not only to the people who lived in the affected areas.
The firefighters have been tireless and are still trying to control a big fire that spawned from the one in Pedrógão Grande. While Spain, France, and Italy have deployed more resources to help fight the fire, the majority of the Portuguese firefighters are actually volunteers who risk their lives every year.
The 150 families who lost their homes come from a rural area and many lost not only their homes but also their cattle and, needless to say, will struggle to start over. So they could use everyone’s help.
There is a number of local initiatives to bring food and supplies to the area, and also a couple of bank accounts set up for donations. You can find the details for those in this Público’s article. Google Translator should be good enough if you don’t speak Portuguese. As a reference, I have donated to the account in the Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank that is listed in the article.
Surely many things will be said about the fire, that the forests could have been properly cleaned (in order to better contain the fire), that the roads could have been closed sooner (saving anyone from getting trapped), that it was “just” a tragedy. However, when every year the news talk about higher temperature records, it’s not crazy to think that Global Warming contributed to these deadly conditions. So when a man says he’s for Pittsburgh, not Paris, that’s not only a stupid argument and stance, it may also very well be a deadly one.