Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Lots of sun, little rain, yay! Wildfires, violent storms - boo! First, the good stuff.
Photo by Justus Hayes
The Algarve is deservedly famous for its pleasant, favourable weather. The fun fact at everyone's fingertips is that the Algarve receives over 300 days of sun a year.
I like that the month following July is "Augustus."
Keep in mind that these are averages both over time and over area. Temperatures in July and August can hit 40 and above, especially inland. On hot days, it pays to be near the coast, as the Atlantic usually provides a cooling sea breeze.
I would like to see the above data distributed on a map of the Algarve. No luck so far.
And now the bad news.
Here's a sobering gallery from the Guardian, Wildfires Rage in the Algarve, 9 Aug 2018.
Towns/areas covered in the above gallery - Corgod, Pedreira, Belem, Monchique, Barranco de Banho, Pocilgais. It looks like that while wildfires burned in many areas of Portugal, the main areas affected in the Algarve in 2018 were mainly Monchique and, to a lesser extent, Silves.
We are currently between fire seasons in Portugal. Here's what Algarve Daily News has to say about the upcoming dry season:
"Algarve is tinder-dry with Monchique now a 'maximum fire risk' area - Portugal’s weather service has issued a ‘high fire risk’ warning that weeks of fine weather and winds have dried out the Algarve’s countryside.
Seven council areas in the Algarve have been warned to be extra alert for fires and for citizens to take care to follow fire prevention measures.
At risk are Vila do Bispo, Portimão, Silves, Loulé, São Brás de Alportel, Tavira and Alcoutim council areas with a special warning for the wooded slopes of Monchique which today was elevated to a ‘maximum fire risk’ zone.
The Algarve region’s fire services are at full strength with many nearby teams available to help Monchique Bombeiros should there be an outbreak.
Common accidental causes of fires are sparks from domestic BBQs and strimmers, with farmers operating machinery on tinder dry land a constant risk. Arson is all too common with many cases reported each year.
Monchique council and Safe Communities Algarve have held joint seminars on how to prevent fires and what to do should a fire threaten property, including how to deal with animals and pets and basic life support actions."
I learned something today. A "strimmer" is UK for what we call a weed whacker or whipper snipper.
At any rate, yes, wildfires in the Algarve are a thing, but the areas worst hit are mountainous and forested, like Monchique. One can presume that this situation will intensify as a result of climate change.
"This website was only started in an effort to help people who live close to stands of forest with masses of ground fuel that posed a fire risk to their homes. It became clear that householders, trying to create their legal 50 metre fuel break around their homes or the 100 metre fuel break around their village, were unsure how to proceed when they had non-compliant, often absent and unknown, neighbours with unmanaged land that intruded into their fuel break zone. As the 15 March deadline for land cleaning has passed and if no action has been taken on the offending land near you, you can skip straight to where we give a step by step guide on how to legally get land cleaned in Portugal."
There is a ton of information to digest here - detail and research rich. I have barely scratched the surface myself. Excellent images, too. Portugal Wildfires
- Assessment and validation of wildfire susceptibility and hazard in Portugal - J. C. Verde and J. L. Zezere, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16 March 2010
Photo: pictures Jettcom
- Algarve coast hit with waves up to five meters and flooding as bad weather lingers until weekend - Algarve Daily News, 19 December 2019
- 8 dead after Spain, Portugal hit by devastating storms - Global News, December 22, 2019
More information to come. Dishes beckon.