Portugal: two fires contained after several days
Firefighters fight a fire near 'Alvaiazere, in central Portugal.
Portuguese firefighters managed on Monday to contain two forest and brush fires that had been raging for several days in the center of the country, placed in so-called “contingency” state due to the risk of fire caused by scorching temperatures.
The largest outbreak, which broke out on Thursday in the town of Ourém and continued to mobilize nearly 600 firefighters, was brought under control in the early morning after ravaging around 3,000 hectares of vegetation, learned the #x27;AFP to an official of the National Civil Protection Authority.
The flames destroyed two homes and several agricultural structures, causing eight minor injuries, including seven firefighters and a gendarme. The emergency services also assisted 35 people on the spot, most of them residents affected by the smoke, said Commander Pedro Araujo.
The fire that started Friday in the neighboring municipality of Pombal was also contained Monday morning, while more than 300 firefighters remained hard at work to prevent its reactivation, the official said.
No other major focus was reported at this stage on the civil protection site. But this respite was likely to be short-lived, as Portugal has been hit since Thursday by scorching temperatures that are expected to worsen in the coming days.
If thermometers have already reached 44 degrees Celsius in places this weekend, the yellow alert issued on Monday by the Portuguese meteorological institute will turn orange on Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures returning well above 40 degrees.
Most of the country will also experience tropical nights, with minimum temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius.
In anticipation of particularly severe weather conditions conducive to rural fires, the Portuguese government has decreed a state of contingency between Monday and Friday, in order to raise by one notch the level of mobilization of the emergency services and the restrictions they may impose.
Lisbon has also asked the European Union European Union to activate its common civil protection mechanism, obtaining on Sunday the dispatch of two water bomber planes stationed in Spain.