Dear Permies friends,
most of you will have seen the news about the latest forest fires in central Portugal. It was a absolute horror.
Sunday morning I woke up at six to continue building my tiny wooden house. Rain was forecasted, so I had to prepare for that. The whole day I was working, and in the evening I sat down for some internet. At around 8pm the internet connection was lost. I went for a walk upon the hill, to take a look at the fires that started that afternoon. The whole afternoon the sun was red because of the smoke in the sky. So I went up on the hill, and what I saw was a bit scary. Fires raging all over the Serra da Estrella mountains, multiple fires in a row. But the fires where also in the west, a lot of fires.. But the wind came from the south, and there I didnt see fires, so I assumed to be save. I was very tired because of the work I did, and went to bed at around ten. One hour later, my neighbour woke me up and saved my life. I just had time to put on a trousers and some shoes, and took my wallet with me. I didnt think about saving papers, laptop, phone, nothing.. We went to the village, there we could find shelter near the church, surrounded by stone buildings. The fire came fast, the wind was strong. In a short time the valley was on fire, and the explosion of my gas bottle made sure nothing is left of my temporary house, and new builded one.
I went back in the middle of the night to see the damage. First the fires where still too hot, and I had to go back to the village. One hour later I managed to get to my quinta. Most of the centuries old olive trees were still burning. I tried to save the tries with some buckets of water, but I guess most of them will die.
I tried to sleep a few hours between the dieing fires, smoke and ashes, but I couldnt. I went to collect my dead chickens for the compost, and went away, hichhiking to Ciombra to escape the mess.
Now, a few days later I start to think about the future. I think I will go back and rebuild everything. It wont be easy, because I dont even have enough money to replace everything I lost.. But I think things will be OK, so many people are willing to help, its heartwarming. People started to collect clothes, shoes, things to cook, food, and so on, to help the victims of this terrible fires. The foreign alternative lifestyle community of central Portugal lost a lot, because its the foreigners who live on the fields, the Portuguese prefer to stick together in the villages. I think this all will lead to a much more connected community, something many of us here were already hoping for. We all went through the same..