Portugal fires contained, situation remains 'serious'

Portugal fires contained, situation remains 'serious'

The blazes left 27 people with minor injuries
The blazes left 27 people with minor injuries. Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP
Source: AFP

New feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block and enjoy!

Firefighters in Portugal on Monday contained two forest fires that ravaged the centre of the country which is under a state of emergency due to an ongoing heatwave.

The blazes left 27 people with minor injuries, while seven houses and two agricultural structures were damaged in recent days, said Andre Fernandes, a civil protection commander.

"There is no significant fire active at this moment (but) the situation is serious," he added at a media briefing.

The most serious fire started on Thursday in the town of Ourem, 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Lisbon.

It tore through around 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of vegetation and some 600 firefighters remained in the area after it was contained to prevent it restarting.

A fire that started Friday in the neighbouring commune of Pombal and destroyed 560 hectares was also contained Monday morning, with 300 firefighters remaining on standby.

Read also

Spain, Portugal swelter under new heat wave

PAY ATTENTION: Follow us on Instagram - get the most important news directly in your favourite app!

Another blaze devastated a swathe of forest near Carrazeda de Ansiaes, in an isolated region of the northeastern district of Braganza, between Thursday and Saturday.

Since Thursday Portugal has been hit by high temperatures that are forecast to exceed 45 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions this week.

"In the coming days we will experience conditions of maximum risk," Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

"The slightest lapse in vigilance could result in a fire of significant proportions."

The Portuguese government issued a national "state of contingency" to reinforce the emergency services and beef up emergency powers.

Lisbon has also asked the European Union to activate its civil protection mechanism, and two fire-fighting planes have already been sent to Portugal from Spain.

"Today the country is better prepared" than in 2017, when forest fires left over 100 people dead, said Costa, who cancelled a visit to Mozambique in response to the crisis.

New feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.