Portugal is burning. From the north to the south, every day, the trees and towns are on fire. Two Sundays ago there were over 200 fires, joining the list of the over 10,000 fires that have occurred this year alone. The authorities have said that the vast majority of these blazes are the result of arson and according to several news articles, the total number of arrests is up to 61.
While the fire we experienced last month in our village was expertly tackled and subdued by the brave bombeiros (most of whom are volunteers!), many others rage across the countryside. Homes, businesses, forests, and even lives are in danger as the hot and dry weather continues to make it difficult to contain these blazes.
These images were taken near my home outside of Coimbra. We had the car packed with our computers and photo equipment, the cats caged, and were ready to go if the fire jumped the road to our neighbors' lawn. We were alternating between hosing down the hedges and plants in our neighbors' yard with friends to photographing some of the shocking scenes around us. This is the closest I've been to a forest fire: the burning of the bosque in Albuquerque was something that happened every summer, but that was nowhere near my old neighborhood.
All I can do is hope the government starts passing some laws to safeguard the forests and crack down harder on arsonists. Arson is unacceptable, but like the gun crimes in America, it's a lot easier to talk about change than to actually make it happen.