Fires in Ponto do Pargo, Santa Cruz and now Funchal


Ponto do Pargo

From the Diario:

Men and equipment of four brigades will spend this morning engaged in fighting on multiple fronts of fire that burn in several places in Ponta do Pargo, Calheta, where empty houses, barns and crops have been destroyed.

According to the commander of the Volunteer Firemen of Calheta, João Alegria, active fronts which require more attention by the organisations involved in the operations are located at Pedregal, Ribeira da Vaca, Lombo da Ovelha and Cabo.

Apparently firefighters are spending a lot of time running from one place to another to extinguish the flames that sometimes trigger new outbreaks and fires that rekindle in places extinguished previously.

Later updated:

“By nightfall, the fire raged in the area of ​​Ribeira das Vacas and advanced to the Salon, causing panic populations.

The forest fire has consumed a large area of ​​eucalyptus trees, bushes and Feiteira between the site of the old Cape and Spine at Ponta do Pargo, since the early hours of Tuesday.

The Volunteer Firefighters were alerted by the Calheta 2:50 a.m. the morning of Tuesday 11 and mobilized elements aided by two heavy emergency room, two pump trucks and a car for support.

The device, joined by six members of the Forestry Police, having been ordered reinforcements to the Fire Department of San Vicente and Porto Moniz who have placed three men and a car in front that raged in the area of ​​the trailer.

The active fire had two fronts, one of which was to present a kilometre long and consumed a considerable area”

Santa Cruz:

According to Diario again: “A devastating fire is ablaze in the area of ​​Santa Cruz, between the site and sidewalk Massapez S. Gil, endangering several homes.

For the location, the Santa Cruz Fire Department moved 15 men, three pump trucks and two self-support trying to master the flames.

Later updated:

A resumption of firefighters mobilized 27 ‘Santa Cruz Municipal’ to fight a fire near homes in the mills above the Assomada, in Caniço, an area of ​​scrub and eucalyptus which was the scene of fire on Monday night and early hours of Tuesday Monday.

The entire resources of Santa Cruz were called to urgently tackle a fire that raged on several fronts in the highlands of Santa Cruz County: The Levadas, São Sebastião e São Gil locations were later extinguished.

The municipality of Santa Cruz requested the support of neighbouring ‘Volunteers Madeira’ in Machico.

Apologies – the blog was down from late last night until this morning due to a technical hitch after an upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. Any php script experts out there!!!

Fire update as of this morning (Weds)

From the Diario:

17 Volunteer firefighters battle in Ribeira Brava since yesterday afternoon a fire at the top of the Serra de Agua.

The fire started in the Faja of mares, Hydroelectric threatened the Serra da Água and now spreading in the direction of Paul da Serra.


As a precaution the Pousada dos Vinháticos and residential Encumeada were evacuated, ensure the source of fire.

Due to the fire, the PSP has cut the road linking Sierra Regional Water Encumeada.

The fire has already burned haystacks and cattle at the site of Terra Grande.

Thanks again to Peter for keeping me up to date on this one!

Fire update as of tonight (Weds)

Fire approaches houses in Lombo dos Marinheiros

The two fires that broke out on Tuesday at Ponta do Pargo, Calheta municipality, and Encumeada, Ribeira Brava, continued to track at 18:30 and concern for firefighters due to the proximity of housing.

In Ponta do Pargo, "the situation is more complicated in Lombo dos Marinheiros” said the source of the corporation da Calheta the Lusa agency, where the flames approaching houses. The same source, in this parish are a total of about 30 firefighters and 15 cars of various corporations.

The mayor of Calheta, Manuel Baeta, stressed that there were "no casualties" in the municipality and that damage was limited to forest and bush, including "some haystacks, spaces where people keep farming tools." Manuel Baeta reported a "distressing scenario", where firefighters have spared no efforts "to save homes," and acknowledged that the population is "very scared".

"The big problem is the wind that is helping the spread of fire," said the mayor, who said he feared the advance of flames to the village of Fajã da Ovelha.

In Ribeira Brava, the fire Encumeada where vehicles are four to 13 members of the corporation of the county, is destroying the forest, but was close to residences and hotel units, which forced the relocation of tourists to Funchal. "The concern was to defend the houses that were in danger and the damage is to be recorded in the forest," said deputy mayor, Marcelino Pereira, appealing to the population so that, although the situation may raise curiosity, not to move to the locations of fires and ride with caution on the roads nearby.

In this county, due to fire, have been closed roads of Laurel Ground-Encumeada, Serra d’Água-Encumeada and Encumeada-Paul da Serra.


Fire update as of tonight (Weds 21.00)

As we look up towards Palheiro from Funchal tonight there is a new fire apparent behind the Nacional hill-top football stadium at Choupana – in the direction of Camacha but nearer – on the skyline. What a shame to see all this forest destroyed. Seems like we need more English rain here, and possibly fewer arsonists. As I write this the fire has dropped below the skyline and is heading towards the stadium and east toward Palheiro(21.15)



Fire update as of tonight (Weds 21.20)

This is looking quite serious now – it has spread a long way in a very short time.


Fire update as of tonight (Weds 21.30)

The fire has advance down one valley and is rapidly nworking its way up the hillside towards Palheiro


(21.40) Not looking good at all!


Going dark – fire progressing downhill in places (21.56)


All photos copyright mid

55 thoughts on “Fires in Ponto do Pargo, Santa Cruz and now Funchal”

  1. Thanks Jon for the info will have a go including some rude ementary Portuguese.
    On the lines of, you Sr Presidente having done so much for Madeira, there is no ferry to neighbours or the mainland, effectively isolating the Island especially when Icelandic volcanoes erupt and aeroplanes are grounded.
    Understand the reasons for this are excessive port landing charges.
    Wondering when you will be able to rectify the situation.

  2. It is almost certainly arson in Santa Cruz Jon.

    BTW : The IGA have warned about possible cuts in drinking water, due to the diversion of supplies for fire fighting. This is the article, untranslated, that names the places likely to be affected>

    A IGA alerta as populações de Câmara de Lobos e da Ribeira Brava para eventuais cortes de água potável e de regadio. Por causa dos incêndios que continuam activos na Calheta e na Serra de Água foi necessário fazer desvios no Canal do Norte. Por isso, é provável que falte água de rega e potável na Serra d’Água, Campanário, Ribeira Brava, Quinta Grande, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Câmara de Lobos e Jardim da Serra.

  3. from noticias IGA warns cuts in water supply

    The IGA warning people of Câmara de Lobos and Ribeira Brava for possible cuts of drinking water and irrigation. Because of the fires that are still active in Calheta and Sierra Water was necessary to make deviations in the North Channel. Therefore, it is likely that lack of irrigation water and drinking Sierra Water, Belfast, Ribeira Brava, Quinta Grande, Câmara de Lobos, Câmara de Lobos and Sierra Gardens.

  4. Well we can see the clouds of smoke on the hilltop from here, thanks for the info we were trying to work out which direction from Garajau. Excellent photos although some very sad people I am sure – the temperatures have hit a high since we have moved here in December 2007!

  5. Superb coverage and photos Admin…..this is not good, seriously.
    Drinking water supplies affected also….
    We did see some smoke away towards Funchal but never imagined it was this bad,,,,
    Arson? Madness!
    The whole Island is tinder dry…..
    There did not appear to be any more fires in the Santa Cruz locale today….
    Temps/Wind forecast to decrease from tomorrow….
    Hottest since we “joined” in July 2004 – fingers crossed temps/wind drop.
    Well done and thanks to ALL the people involved in the “distressing scenario”, where firefighters have spared no efforts “to save homes,,,,,

  6. Anyone got any idea how well the blaze is being tackled in ponto do Pargo? Can see flames from here on jardim do mar and wondering how bad it is up there?
    Best of luck to those brave firefighters

  7. I hear that Palheiro Golf is evacuated, burning and the quinta destroyed; earlier I heard that Camacha is evacuated and houses burning, also that the Ribeiro Brava area is also on fire. On TV it sounded like Camara da Lobos is also affected but my Portuguese is not good enough to be exact. From here (south west Funchal) it looks like the whole hillside of north Funchal is on fire. Very frightening. Well done and thanks to all the firefighters here.

  8. We are in Garajau and although can see the flames and fire in the distance we are not really affected – don’t know where you are in Garajau Gil let me know and I will try to assure you that it is OK.

  9. Have not used this blog for a while but it just goes to show when there is a problem that is the place where we zone on. Sorry I have not been contributing more over the last couple of years.

  10. This is quite amazing, the footage that is being posted. One small island and so much disaster happening, it’s amaging because all that we have can go in a second, and we never know when. This fire is an example of how much we take things for granted, and we keep on taking from mothernature without a second thaught. I’ve seen some of the pictures and I see people standing around like they did when there was the land slid 2 years ago. Yet we don’t learn anything from this, we know it is very hot and dry and we do things to start fires, what does that tell us, we are all selfage.. I come from Fuchal, Madeira and I a stund that this fire has gotten to this point, I have family their and I a worried about them. I hope that things work out fine and that it rains without thunder or lighting. GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE FIREFIGHTER from Brampton, Ontario Canada.

  11. Hope all bloggers and their properties are safe. Such extremes, the floods , then this. Thoughts with all Madeirans. It may be arsonists I know it happens on the island but it may also be something like a beer bottle in the sun.

  12. Large fires in the hills above us (Gaula), now East of Camacha? From the smoke and the blog, it now appears that the whole upper ridge is on fire…..

    Builders, beer bottles, blazes indeed……..

    I believe, from the T.V. that Madeira is now on a state of Emergency.

  13. Yes, Madeira is now in a state of emergency; massive black and orange smoke all across the sky, but can’t see flames now. No news yet about what is still burning, but it looks like the whole hillside. Where are the water planes? On TV it looks like just little hoses being used.

  14. The forests on Madeira are ‘protected’ and so developers cannot clear the trees to build. Set fire to the forest and destroy it and what do you get? hmmm look at that nice plot of land we can now build on.

    Try telling me otherwise!!! People are lining their pockets, no names no pack drill, but it’s widely known who gets richer at the expense of Madeirans generally.

  15. This is the first time I have read the blog. What a load of rubbish people like Maurice write. These fires are a huge blow to the island. The loss of life, property and businesses is tragic beyond measure. To react in the way he does leaves me numb with shock. If he lives in Madeira he should leave. Clearly he has no respect for the people here. It is a privilege for us expatriates to live on this beautiful island. The flood was terrible and the even the ‘normal’ summer fires are bad enough. After a year of almost no rain on the southern side of the island this conflagration is on a frightening scale and we have friends who are being affected.
    Land for development is in a slump. People with land for sale struggle endlessly for a buyer. Maurice you write a load of rubbish. Go home.

  16. Can anyone tell me what we can do to help? Are there any specific types of volunteers needed, or is there any legitimate organization that we can send donations to?

  17. We have family in Santa Cruz (a few Kilometres above the airport) and we cannot get hold of them. Very worrying, please can anyone give us any insights in to what’s happened with residents – have they been evacuated? Is anyone able to provide any information please?

  18. We live in Porto Novo, and the area here is now blanketed by smoke coming down from Gaula. The sky is black and orange!

    Started coming over just after 1pm, and now we need lights on indoors to be able to see what we are doing.

  19. Hi, I reside in London and am very kneen for any updates on the fire. I still have not seen any mention of the fires on any news channel here e.g bbc sky which i find disapointing. I really hope there is an end to this very sad events

  20. My heart goes out to the Islanders who have suffered so much in the past couple of years, fiest floods nows fires, and my love to my family who are there witnessing this first hand from Garajau. God willing I will be back there with you all late Friday x

  21. Kabs – spoke to friends in Santa Cruz this afternoon and all is OK. The latest area that seems to be affected is the area above Gaula. Lot of sparks flying around and causing small fires on scrubland – nothing as serious as the “forest” fires. Smoke seems to be the biggest problem as Martin indicates. The airport is functioning as normal which also indicates all is well in the direction. The cloud of smoke over Funchal has abated a little, but there is a distinct “haze” in the air and fine ash settling everywhere.

    Zubtheman – if you refresh your browser or revisit and follow the blog link you will get today’s updates which, I hope, are fairly accurate.

    John – I will let you know when anything is announced.

    Flossie – Santo Antonio is completely unaffected.

  22. Thank you for the reassurance regarding Santa Cruz – Really appreciate it thank you. Just a worry as we are in the UK and unable to get hold of family. Thank you for the update.

  23. This is shocking news coming after floods and fires in the last two years. We were over less than 5 weeks ago and it was hot and very dry. It is heartbreaking to hear of so many places we love to visit being revaged by these fires, and people’s homes being destroyed. We are thinking about the Hortensia tea gardens on Lev dos Tornos and wondering…seem to be right in the firing line. Praying that the firefighters can get things under control quickly and people are safe.

  24. We are a few miles to the west of Funchal by the lido complex. All day there has been smoke rising up of the hills over towards Funchal, there is also a lot of ash in the air. This side of town is really business as usual.

  25. At Charles Watson – Mauricio does have a point. I personally know how land and its demarcation is managed and its not in line with what it should be. Yes the forests are protected and the gruond should belong to the state. But somehow ownership does swap eventually. We had property in Madeira that we inherited from an uncle. An American hotel came along and built. We later found out that they had taken 2500m2 of our family land. After a long time of dispute we eventually rceived a settlement. Now hows that!

  26. Shocking scenes again from Madeira.
    We’re going to Funchal in the end of August, and just hope that everyone is ok.
    Best wishes to locals and tourists on the Madeira Island from Norway!

  27. Having been a reader of this blog for some time now and enjoyed all of the banter and solid information regarding my favourite island (since my first visit in 1968 and many more since). I thought it was about time I put my fourpennyworth in.
    First re Freds comment about being surrounded by water, so is the the UK but we can’t use it IT’S SALT WATER, kills plants. Also water is one of the hardest things to pump anywhere due to its viscosity and weight.
    Charles Watson does have point regarding the effects of the fires on the people and businesses affected however, Maurice has a perfectly valid point especially if you are one of the lucky ones (I wonder who they are????) who have title to that bit of land that has suddenly lost its forest, don’t have to sell just build then sell. Charles Watson does have point regarding the effects of the fires
    Didn’t Bumbling Bertie state publicy that Palheiro/Blandys were enemies of Madeira oops it seems to have caught fire. Too many seats of fire in different places at almost the same time Hmmmm could it be coincedence.
    All goverments like smokescreens its amazing what sneaks out under them (see latest on DNoticias)
    Unfortunately the people who suffer are the ones who can least afford to and my heart goes out to them.
    On a lighter note if you want some of that wet stuff just mention the “D” word the water companies in the UK did and it hasn’t stopped raining since !!!!!!!!

  28. from dnoticias Fires have already made 42 victims

    Now increased to 42 the number of people assisted in the emergency department of Hospital Dr. Nelio Mendonca as a result of the fires raging across the wood since Wednesday.

    Today, between nine and 18 hours entered the hospital 20 wounded, most of which have eye problems and respiratory infections, caused by prolonged exposure to smoke.

    “None of the victims inspires care, and no one was hospitalized because of injuries,” said this afternoon the Director of Emergency Services, Pedro Ramos, during a press conference, urging people to drink plenty of fluids and avoid exposure to the most smoke.

    Since Wednesday that 42 people have been treated in hospital, only three remain hospitalized. “These are elderly people whose assets were hit by fire, then stay here,” said Pedro Ramos, adding that they should be discharged tomorrow

  29. I cant believe the pictures that i am seeing hope that these are put out quickly and no more damage is caused thoughts go to family and friends back home in Madeira x

  30. Honestly, today Friday. July the 20th we walked a beautiful route around the ancient forest of Fanal to find around 13:50 a tourguide with a group of people building a huge barbecue fire to roast some shaslik old style. We are absolutely flabbergasped by this. To build a fire in an Unesco protected heratige area when so much of the Island is burning and fire starts so quickly in the extremely dry woodland up there in the hills. Don’t you have any legislation in Madeira??? Do you enforce it? The tourguide didn’t felt he was doing anything wrong. Told us he had permission to build a fire. Personally I think he was absolutely nuts. We are from the Netherlands. Sometimes its very dry in the woods and heather area’s. With us it’s not even permitted to smoke in times of heat and extreme dry conditions. We obviously contacted the police when we were back in the hotel. Don’t know if they acted on the information.

  31. Hi everyone,
    Just got back from Funchal today and travelled 200 miles yesterday by car through the mountains and upto Santana and to Pt Moniz, arrived at Calheta late afternoon and saw fires on the hillside. All ok and everything controlled down to the great fire services. In the taxi to the airport this morning, our driver was upbeat and said the weather had been particulary hot in the last week. The fires have been much worse than usual and luckily no one has been seriously injured. If you have a holiday booked – DO NOT CANCEL. It is fine. We hired a car from Hertz yesterday and asked us not to tour the east, apart from that it really is business as usual !

  32. This is so sad that so many families have been left without homes. I hope and pray that the firefighters will soon get this under control. I am already concerned as my family and I already have our holiday booked for the middle of August. I wonder if it will be safe to go????

  33. I am deeply saddened to read about the tragic situations in which many Madeirense now find themselves. Madeira is such a beautiful island – a sub-tropical Paradise – and it is hard to watch the frightful images from all parts of the island as the precious forests and properties burn. The firefighters are tired and although I don’t have it confirmed, I have heard that, like many government workers, they have not been paid for a while. And yet, these are the very people working 24/7 to save people, animals and property. Kudos to the more-fortunate people of Madeira who rallied to provide food and drinks for them so that they can keep going. Times are tough enough for the people of Portugal without the added hardship these losses will bring. I am stunned that this is said to be the work of Arsonists, a suspect has apparently been released on bail with a requirement to attend judicial offices every day! How can this be? Why isn’t he held until his court date? I am watching and waiting for the Government of Madeira to do the right thing and to come forth with a genuine and praiseworthy solution that benefits only those who are personally affected by this tragedy.

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  35. I was surprised to find out about the fires… late albeit. It just did not make international news. I’ve been shopping the island to purchase a place that I can use as a rental and live in when I retire. Ponto Do Pargo is my preferred area, and these fires do not deter me from following through with my plans to purchase. My heart goes out to the victims, and I wish I could help in some way.

  36. Gene – if you are planning to buy property as a rental, make sure you apply for the necessary licencing and rules for renting property. You must have a license for holiday rental properties and is a legal must. Your property must be inspected by the local camara (town hall) for adherence to local regulations before this license is granted.


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