I live in Rome but am relocating to central Portugal. Last few years I keep hearing about the wildfires but I cannot find English or Italian websites that talk about them. Is it so bad that I have to consider where I am moving to? I was thinking near the beach near Caldas da Rainha but I am not 100% set. Is that a fire proof area?
Great blog by the way!
The wildfires can be quite bad. For example, last year there were fires in the Algarve that lasted 7 days. I read that 2,000 people were evacuated from the area.
Apparently, most of the fires are manmade (not necessarily arson, but barbecuing when there is high risk of fire), but due to the heat and dryness in Portugal, they are harder to tame.
This is made worse because of commercial eucalyptus planting. It is highly flammable and has replaced native vegetation like chestnuts and laurels.
Portugal is also one of the countries that spends the least in fire protection in the EU.
When looking for a place to live in Portugal, consider what makes for a high risk area:
- Homes on a slope
- Homes near eucalyptus & pine forests
- Homes with one access road (makes it harder for firefighters to get in and out)
- Homes close to high & medium voltage power lines
You should absolutely look into this before moving. Check out this PDF which outlines the problem incredibly well.
Hope this helps,
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