A tree with it's burnt branches collapsed around it. Palmela and it's castle behind.

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Carbonised Landscape

Oliver Sidaway | Portugal

Palmela. Portugal. 13/7/2022. A heatwave one month earlier than the usual peak. With temperatures over 40’C for many days the surrounding countryside has lost all its moisture. A wildfire one kilometre from the town spreads to three of its sides. The firefighters valiantly keep the fire out and check it where they can. Otherwise it is too powerful and must run its course. Afterwords the people look out at the blackened landscape. A fire like this not known in any of their lifetimes.

Two days after the fire I take a walk around Palmela with my camera. At first I struggle to understand what I am looking at. What was familiar is painfully lost. Woodland, hillsides and fields are destroyed, home to many wild animals and plants. Beautiful vistas are changed out of recognition,The landscape asks new questions as to how I depict it. What might have been a painting before confounds me now.

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