- Posted July 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Wildfires blazing near you
Fire catastrophe devastates Madeira Island
The fire is considered a large catastrophe, dislodging thousands of people, destroying home and part of the unique flora of the island. The autonomous government of the Island has already called for an emergency plan situation.
The Portuguese Air Force C130 Hercules planes are helping the fight against the flames but at times, the firefighters admitted there are areas out of control.
In the villages of Sao Joao, Meia Legua e Faja da Ribeira, the situation is harder to contain because the fire spreads in several fronts.
At this time there is no knowledge of fatalities, only population including firefighters being treated for smoke inhalation.
The Interior Secretary of Portugal visits the site with governor of the Island and promised that everything will be done to return things to normal.
Madeira Island together with a smaller island of Porto Santo is a possession of Portugal since the XII century. It is a big tourist attraction, especially by the British, because of its tempered climate, beautiful woods and exotic flowers, given by many the title of “The Pearl of the Ocean”. It is visit all year round by cruise ships from all over the world and thousands of tourists arrive by plane.
The forests of Madeira Island are part of UNESCO World´s Heritage. The Laurisilva of Madeira is a fabulous relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type. It is the biggest surviving area of laurel forest, approximate 90% primary forest. It contains a unique plants and animals; some are endemic species of the Island.