Tragic fire in Portugal illustrates how dangerous it can be if people don’t know what to do in a fire emergency. The tower fire in England is also a harsh lesson now that we learned that there was confusion and chaos that led to many dead in that terrible fire.
Rodrigo Rosario’s grandmother said the youngster’s body had been found next to a car in which his uncle had burnt to death.
Many people died in their cars while trying to escape the flames in the Pedrógão Grande area, according to government sources.
The boy and his uncle were found near the spot where the fire broke out in Pedrógão Grande.
Before the fire, we can see that high-octane burn pine trees line all the roads here in Portugal.
This is a common effect of forest fires: the trees are singed and some have branches that burned but the trees usually are still very much alive, they evolved to have fires sweep them periodically. But the cars all burned ferociously. This is because they all had volatile fuel in the tanks so they literally ‘blew up’.
The fire began with a lightning strike. All over the US where there are forests we have watch towers to look for fires, most of which are started by lightning. Not all, of course. I recall in my own childhood, a guy got lost going up Sabino Canyon in Arizona. To call for help, he lit a fire which rapidly became a forest fire.
We, at our ranch below, noticed the smoke and called it in then we got on our horses and headed towards the canyon. Soon, helicopters from the air force base came lumbering in and they found the guy and he was put in jail because he did something stupid. When lost on a mountain, go downhill! It is pretty simple. I was taught this at age 5 when we moved to the McDonald Observatory in Texas.
The people panicked in Spain.
Burnt cars block the road between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiro dos Vinhos, central Portugal, pictured today. The prime minister António Costa has called the fire ‘the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years.’
In Castanheira de Pera, I found this:
There is this body of water at the Praiadas Rocas, for example. In any forest fire event, going to water is #1, trying to outrun a fire especially when the wind is to one’s back, is highly dangerous and the chances of being stuck in a traffic muddle is very high.
There was no large body of water in Figueiro dos Vinhos. But there is a large stadium surrounded by a parking lot which doesn’t burn. I grew up in very dangerous places, mainly mountains, and in Tucson, we were the ‘fire department’ back when virtually no one lived where our ranch was. I learned how to use an ‘Indian tank’ to fight fires. This is a big tank of water you carry on the back and use a pump-wand to aim water at the base of a fire.
We were under orders, as children, that if any fire were to happen and it couldn’t be put out, we were to jump into the swimming pool.
This town nearby the two above towns is on a river. Always run to rivers when there are forest fires and go into it. Make sure your head is wet! The only way to avoid panic and doing the absolutely wrong thing is to have practice. I grew up with lots of fire drills. It was considered highly important.
Over time, people get lazy about this. I remember all those childhood fire drills we went through. Many tragedies happen because people have no idea how to shelter from fires. In the recent tragedy in England, people ran to elevators in a fire and all of them died. You never should use an elevator in a fire.
Others ran inside or spent time trying to save items of interest. This is fatal, too. Nothing is worth one’s life. I remember all the nuclear war drills, too. We stopped those. I feel there should be tornado drills, many times people die because they don’t know how to shelter even if there are tornado alarms.
During WWII, elaborate systems were set up and run by local and national governments for all sorts of disasters/wars. And our parents drilled us mercilessly on all this. Now, everyone seems way to relaxed about rules for disasters and become victims. And governments are responsible for pushing people to exercise ‘what to do’ so they don’t panic.
The video gives no information about what children can do if there is a real fire. I knew all the ins and outs of fires when still well under 12 years of age, frankly, by 10 I knew all about fire safety especially forest fires.