On Tuesday, smoke from a massive wildfire in central Portugal engulfed the “Four Towers” towers in Madrid 400 kilometers (250 miles) distant, and residents of the Spanish capital complained of a distinct burning smell.
The fire that has scorched Portugal’s Serra da Estrela national park began on August 6 and had been substantially extinguished by Sunday before rekindling on Monday, forcing the evacuation of many settlements.
More than 1,100 firemen were battling the blaze, which had already consumed more than 17,000 hectares. They were aided by 13 waterbombing aircraft.
According to Civil Protection Commander Andre Fernandes, the fire had multiple fronts, making it difficult to extinguish in the windy, dry weather.
NASA Worldview satellite photographs revealed a column of smoke stretching from the west to the east of the Iberian peninsula, beyond Madrid, where emergency services had to reassure frightened people that there was no fire nearby.
Hundreds of firemen in eastern Spain, on the other hand, were working around the clock to put out two wildfires in the Valencia region.
Since Sunday, highways in the Vall d’Ebo area south of Valencia have been closed and approximately 2,000 residents have been evacuated after lightning sparked a wildfire that has burned more than 9,500 hectares.
According to a study published last month in the journal Nature Geoscience, climate change has caused areas of the peninsula to be the driest in 1,200 years.
July was the warmest month in Spain since at least 1961, when the country’s meteorological office began keeping records.
According to the European Forest Fire Information System, wildfires have burned more than 270,000 hectares in Spain so far in 2022, significantly exceeding the 15-year annual normal of 70,000.
Forest fires have burned over 85,000 hectares, or nearly 1% of Portugal’s land, the largest percentage in the European Union.