Pedrógão Grande, 2017
A Firestorm in Portugal
In June 2017 Portugal was baking in a prolonged summer heat wave, the latest in a pattern of record temperatures and drought. The daily heat index was surpassing 40 °C (104 °F) and dry thunderstorms sparked more than 150 fires across the parched, crackling landscape.
On the afternoon of June 17th four separate fires broke out in the rural Pedrógão Grande municipality. With terrifying momentum the blazes grew into a firestorm that choked the forested highways leading out of the region. 30 people were killed in their vehicles trying to escape the fires. Another 17 lost their lives attempting to flee on foot. In all, 66 people where killed and 253 were injured, making it the deadliest wildfire in Portugal’s history. More than 53,000 hectares were burned across a landscape heavily forested with overgrown pine and eucalyptus.
FROM DEVIL’S BREATH is the story of the human tragedy that came as swift and fierce as the fires themselves. But it is also the story of the heroism, resilience, and hope of those who remain. In the wake of disaster driven by the looming climate emergency, scientific discoveries and bold solutions reveal that nature itself could save us from ourselves.
A TIMELINE OF The DISASTER
©GRAIN MEDIA 2021