The Tondela FC team is a Portuguese football club that has recently been in the news for its brave actions during a wildfire. It was reported on August 18th that the team drove through the flames to escape from their stadium before it caught fire.
The wildfires is a natural disaster. In Portugal, the club Tondela drove through the flames to rescue their players and staff from a wildfire in southern Portugal.
The ‘wildfire season’ in Portugal has essentially stretched from two to five months in recent years.
When Joao Redondo boarded Tondela’s team bus for the third time, all he wanted to do was forget about the loss that had knocked his club out of the Portuguese Cup in the third round.
The general manager had plenty of time to ponder on that afternoon’s 3-2 defeat against Leixoes, as he sat in the front of the bus, directly close to the driver. They were snarled in a snarl of traffic. This wasn’t out of the ordinary, yet something didn’t feel quite right.
When the bus finally made it onto the A25, it was able to go through the traffic. The trip from Leixoes’ home in Matosinhos, near Porto in the north-west, to Tondela, in central Portugal, was just approximately 150 kilometers. In principle, it should have been a simple journey. They had no clue what was about to happen.
The crew had passed through the remote hamlet of Vouzela and was just 40 kilometers from home when they were suddenly engulfed by a wildfire after turning a corner. It was a sight of utter chaos; burning tree limbs soared into the air, making a noise like to a raging wave.
Redondo couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He ordered the driver, Luis Chaves, to come to a complete halt. Chaves, on the other hand, was deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafening He reasoned that the bus was too large and hazardous to turn around fast. “I have to go through it, I have to go through it,” he kept repeating.
As a result, on October 15, 2017, the Tondela crew took a leap into the unknown, driving into the flames.
“The flames were coming from all directions,” says Tondela goalkeeping coach Joao Ricardo at the time.
“Some of us wanted to go through with it, while others were hesitant. It was clearly a danger, but it would have been a risk even if our bus had stopped. We might have been involved in an accident or trapped in the flames.
“The heat inside the bus was palpable as we passed past. It was an incredible feeling.”
Other members of the Tondela crew arrived at the same location minutes later after returning from the game. They couldn’t get through since the flames had completely consumed the road. They had no choice but to turn around and escape, returning the opposite way along one of Portugal’s busiest roads.
“Whether you ask me if I was frightened at the time, I really wasn’t because we weren’t completely aware of the danger, the dangers,” Redondo says.
“However, we might have perished there.”
The flames started near Tondela’s stadium and training facility and quickly spread.
Later, defender Ricardo Costa would tell of the “flaming tree fragments” that continued to strike the squad bus as it returned to Tondela, a town of 29,000 people. As they neared the city, the scene became more serene. It seemed like the worst had passed.
Manager Pepa and his coaching staff went to get a bite to eat outside of town. They didn’t expect the flames to engulf them again. It did, though.
“After a time at the restaurant, we noticed a weird noise coming from the neighboring hills,” Ricardo explains.
“We quickly realized it was the flame heading our way. It was a frightening experience.
“We went to Tondela’s center and saw pandemonium – gas cylinders bursting, vehicles racing to flee.” It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
“After 7 p.m., there is typically no one on the streets in this area. It was well beyond ten o’clock that day, and the traffic was horrendous; everyone was eager to get out.”
The coaching crew were split as a result of the misunderstanding, and there was no phone reception. Pedro Oliveira, Pepa’s helper, stayed with him.
“We remained at Pepa’s home since it was safe and right next to a fire station,” Oliveira recalls.
“However, Pepa remarked at one time, ‘We’re all young and healthy, what are we doing?’ We must go out and assist.’ Because there was a lot of smoke outside, we went with damp cloths over our noses and mouths.
“When we returned, it was about 4 a.m. We transported an old guy to the hospital in a serious condition, among other things.”
As the fires burned, midfielder Helder Tavares was also out on the streets. He was with his neighbors, assisting them in connecting to a fire hydrant so they could put out an exploding factory nearby. Later, he went to see Claudio Ramos, the goalie who lived close. They contemplated driving to safety, but they were unable to do so.
Meanwhile, experienced defender Costa was holed up in his hotel room.
“Waves of fire erupted, with flames rising over them. It was a complete disaster “‘I told the Record,’ he said.
“The hotel was filled with smoke, and the fire alarms were blaring.” We had to escape to the cellar, our faces covered in damp towels. That was the back-up plan. Plan C was to dive into the swimming pool.
“Everything was on fire all around us; there was no way out.”
On that day, 51 individuals died throughout the area, many of them stuck in cars as they attempted to flee the flames. It was only Portugal’s second worst wildfire that year. A fire at Pedrogao Grande had killed 66 people only a few months before, in June.
During the wildfires in central Portugal in June 2017, firefighters took a break.
While forest fires are a common occurrence in Portugal, and they may even benefit nature by reducing insect and disease damage, what occurred in 2017 was unprecedented. A total of 5,000 km2 of land was destroyed, which is about three times the size of London.
It was the biggest burnt area ever recorded in Portugal, as well as the worst such catastrophe in the country’s modern history, with a 1 billion euro economic toll.
And climate change is exacerbating the problem.
Hot, dry weather, which feeds wildfires, is becoming more likely as a result of climate change. Since the beginning of the industrial period, the globe has warmed by approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius, and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments across the world drastically reduce emissions.
As flames ravaged sections of Greece and California on Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a “code red” for mankind in a crucial study. It warns of more severe heatwaves, droughts, and floods, as well as the breaking of a critical temperature limit in little over a decade.
Although Portugal, Spain, and Turkey will continue to have the “greatest absolute fire risk,” the European Environment Agency expects an extension of fire-prone areas and longer fire seasons throughout much of the continent, including its northern parts.
In Portugal, the ‘wildfire season’ has practically stretched from two to five months in recent years.
Villagers in Macao, south of Tondela, carry buckets of water to attempt to put out a fire near their houses in July 2019.
Portugal, which faces the Atlantic on Europe’s south-west coast, is a hot nation cooled by powerful ocean breezes. Geographical factors are one issue, but many people feel the government are also to blame.
The absence of a warning mechanism and the inadequate number of experts available to fight the flames were extensively criticized in the aftermath of the 2017 fires. The overwhelming majority of firemen in the United States are self-employed.
The killings cast a pall over Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s government, prompting the Interior Minister and the director of the National Civil Protection Authority to resign.
Since then, the government has promised to enhance forestry management.
On the morning of October 16, 2017, the front cover of the Jornal de Noticias stated, “The Devil was on the loose.”
Many houses were damaged in Tondela and the adjacent area. The flames made it to the club’s training facility, but it was unharmed.
Despite this, the bad air quality forced them to practice indoors for the following week.
“We all had to wear these masks,” Redondo recalls, referring to the masks that have become popular as a result of the epidemic. “I had to seek therapy since the air quality was so poor. My throat was obstructed.”
Tondela’s request for a delay of their next home encounter, planned for the following Sunday, October 22nd, was only reasonable under such circumstances. When they did, Belenenses SAD, their opponents, refused to accept.
Tondela responded by severing relations with the Lisbon club right away. They did their best to be ready for the weekend. The team then went on to win 2-0 on the field, with supporters singing for the firemen. On the field and in the spectators, there were tears.
Tondela has avoided relegation for the last six seasons despite having one of the lowest budgets in the league. They are the country’s sole major football force from the middle regions, which are underrepresented and neglected in comparison to the areas surrounding Porto and Lisbon.
With an 11th-place finish at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, they earned their best-ever top-flight result. It was a real moment of pleasure for a group of individuals who had been through so much in the previous months.
“This tale is about much more than football, despite the fact that it may seem cliched. It’s about individuals who are entitled to a lot more in life “Oliveira continues.
Nobody slept on the night of October 17, 2017, when the connection between club and supporters was at its greatest.
With a new season underway and the aftermath of the flames still vivid in their minds, Tondela residents are hoping for a peaceful summer.
- forest fires
- cd tondela
- fire in paradise