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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Firefighters Win Battle Over Portugal Wildfires

Environment

7Dnews London

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 00:46 GMT

More than 1,000 firefighters managed to bring a major wildfire in central Portugal under control on Tuesday, July 23rd. The related operation will carry on to avoid more infernos, officials said, according to AFP.

About 90% of the fire area in the Castelo Branco district, 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northeast of the capital Lisbon, was brought under control after around 70 hours of work, with firefighters now keeping an eye on adverse weather conditions which may exacerbate the issue. 

Portugal's Civil Protection department announced that strong winds, high temperatures, and low humidity are expected later on Tuesday, which could increase risks. So far, 41 people have received support from emergency services, including 16 people who suffered minor injuries and one who was in serious condition. 

Villagers and authorities in Macao and Vila de Rei, areas in the heart of the fire zone, said there were not enough firefighters and resources to combat the raging flames. 

In response, Portugal's civil protection department said that no more firefighters would be mobilised as 1,020 firefighters still remained on the ground, supported by 320 firefighting vehicles and three aircraft.  

Around 8,500 hectares (21,000 acres) burned over the weekend, according to the European Union fire-mapping service Data. 

The centre of Portugal is hilly and covered in dense forest and is regularly ravaged by fires, including the deadliest in the country's history, when 114 people died in two separate blazes in June and October 2017.  

Much of the population in the area are elderly, as young people increasingly move to the cities. The forests are largely comprised of eucalyptus trees, a highly flammable wood used in the paper industry. 

Europe