This photograph taken on August 11, 2022 shows a column of smoke rising at Vale de Amoreira in Manteigas during a wildfire. - More than 1,500 firefighters were still mobilised on August 11 morning to tackle a forest fire that has been raging for several days in the Serra da Estrela natural park, a mountainous region in central Portugal. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

The devastating forest fire in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park in central Portugal has flared up again. After the fire was brought under control over the weekend, it broke out again on Monday afternoon and was fueled by “strong winds”, said the head of civil protection, André Fernandes, on Monday evening.

Several villages had been evacuated as a precaution. According to civil protection, more than 1,000 firefighters were on Tuesday morning because of the forest fire.

The fire broke out on August 6 near the town of Covilha near the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. According to the authorities, it has so far destroyed around 15,000 hectares of land in the unique forest area, which is recognized by UNESCO as a geopark and lies in the heart of the approximately 2,000 meter high Serra da Estrela mountain range.

The forest fire is already the biggest this summer in Portugal. The southern European country recorded the hottest July in almost a century, and forest fires have already devastated around 80,000 hectares of land there this year.