October 2017 Iberian wildfires
October 2017 Iberian wildfires was a series of more than 7,900 forest fires affecting Northern Portugal and Northwestern Spain between October 13 and 18. The wildfires claimed the lives of at least 49 individuals, including 45 in Portugal and four in Spain, and dozens more were injured.
The first fires started by October 13 in Galicia. Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy and Jorge Gomes, Portugal's secretary of state of internal administration, believed most fires were lit by arsonists. By October 15, 2017, winds increased, due in part to hurricane Ophelia passing between the Azores and the peninsula, and helped fan wildfires in both Portugal and Spain.
In Portugal, on its worst day, firefighters battled over 440 fires. The country sought assistance from European neighbours and Morocco. The Portuguese Minister of Internal Administration Constança Urbano de Sousa, who resigned as a consequence, said "We have all our firefighters out there doing everything they can".
Meteorological aftermath in Europe
The arrival of Ophelia brought Saharan dust to parts of the United Kingdom, giving the sky an orange or yellow-sepia appearance, and the sun a red or orange appearance. A strange 'burning' smell was also reported across Devon, also attributed to the dust, and smoke from forest fires in Portugal and Spain. Winds up to 115 km/h (71 mph) were observed in Orlock Head, County Down, at the height of the storm. Approximately 50,000 households lost power in Northern Ireland. Insurance claims from Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are estimated to reach £5–10 million (US$6.6–13.2 million).
In Tallinn, Estonia, a black rain occurred due to the fact that Hurricane Ophelia brought smoke and soot of fires to Estonia from Portugal, as well as dust from the Sahara Desert, Report informs citing the Estonian media. "We looked at photos from satellites and the Finnish weather service confirmed that the smoke and soot of the fires in Portugal and partly the dust from the Sahara reached us," meteorologist Taimi Paljak said.
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- "Red sun phenomenon 'caused by Hurricane Ophelia'". BBC News. 16 October 2017.
- "This is why the sky is strange and you can smell burning in Devon and Cornwall". Plymouth Herald. 16 October 2017.
- Rachel Martin (20 October 2017). "Ophelia: NI and GB damage estimated to cost up to £10m". AgriLand. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Black rain observed in Tallinn due to hurricane Ophelia, Report News Agency, 26.10.2017
- Galerii: torm Ophelia kandis koos Sahara tolmuga Eestisse pimeduse, postimees.ee, 26.10.2017, in Estonian
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