More than a thousand firefighters battled on Sunday July 21st to bring wildfires under control in central Portugal, the same region that witnessed a deadly blaze in 2017, AFP has reported.
The firefighters, with the help of around 20 helicopters and airplanes, were dispatched to put out three fires in the mountainous and heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres north of Lisbon, according to the website of the Civil Protection.
"One civilian suffered serious injuries and was evacuated by helicopter to Lisbon," Luis Belo Costa, the commander of the civil protection for the region said.
Four firefighters were also reported injured, and a further three were hurt after their fire engine collided with another.
Due to strong winds, the fires had been spreading in three directions since Saturday afternoon, July 20th. Six regions of central and southern Portugal have been placed on maximum fire alert.
In a statement, the army said it deployed 20 soldiers and machinery to open routes "to facilitate access" for the firefighters as several highways have been closed.
In a message, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa expressed his "solidarity with the hundreds fighting the scourge of the fires."
Wildfires are not uncommon in Portugal especially in summer amid heatwaves.
In August 2018, over 700 firefighters battled a forest fire in southern Portugal, as temperatures climbed to near record highs in the Iberian Peninsula.
On June 17th, 2017, a series of four deadly wildfires erupted across central Portugal within minutes of each other, resulting in at least 66 deaths and 204 injured.