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‘Panic Killed Those People’: Portugal Buries Wildfire Victims

This part of Portugal is cut with dry gorges and cracked ravines lined with explosively flammable pine and eucalyptus trees. Though people here have grown used to forest fires, which have burned every summer for decades, searing heat this spring increased the danger. And winds drove the flames and acrid smoke in unpredictable directions.

“You had all the conditions that went completely wrong,” said Miguel Araújo Silva, Caterina’s brother, who had come with her to check on their parents’ home.

Many of the 2,000 firefighters who were sent, with air support, to combat the blaze were also caught by surprise. While I was photographing a volunteer force’s efforts to control a persistent wildfire along a remote tree-lined valley pass, the wind shifted on us.

Source: NYT > World

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