As Portugal sweltered under 40º Celsius temperatures during the summer of 2017, a danger lay silently waiting to wreak havoc on the country. On June 17th, fire broke out in central Portugal in the municipality of Pedrògão Grande. The wildfire spread rapidly due to atmospheric instability which resulted in downbursts – strong winds blowing straight down at the ground and spreading embers. The fire would also spread to the neighboring municipalities.
As the fire spread, the local citizens prepared to evacuate the area. Personal effects were gathered up and put into vehicles to be taken along to protect them from being destroyed by the fire. Escape roads were chosen and families set out. Due to the shifting winds and scorching heat, the direction the fire would spread was difficult to predict. As local residents made their way to what could have been safety, the fire changed course and their vehicles were surrounded by thick smoke.
People perished due to automobile collisions in the dense smoke. People also perished because they could not see to navigate their way out. They were in the path of the fire and burned even while sitting in their vehicles. Twenty-two people died on one road (from Figueiro dos Vinhos to Castanheira de Pera) alone.
How safe is the road on which you are traveling? What are your thoughts as you accumulate your possessions and make your way along the road of life?Portugal’s Prime Minister asked the head of the Republican National Guard why the EN-261-1 road had not been closed. On that road 47 lives were lost. The response came back that there had been no indication of any danger on that stretch of road. Quite likely the lack of information came as result of the fire taking out the communication network.
In Proverbs 14:12, it says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”. The local residents, in Portugal, set out to escape the fire on a road they thought would lead them to safety. Sadly for some, it ended in death.
Where is the road you are on heading? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Be on the road that leads to a guaranteed home in Heaven when this life is over!
The decision about which road to take away from the fire cost these people their physical lives. Do not let the decision you make today cost you your spiritual life.
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