Under the heat wave, Portugal struggles to control several forest fires

Under the heat wave, Portugal struggles to control several forest fires

Smoke rising from a forest area burned during a forest fire in Casais do Vento, July 10, 2022.

Up to 2,800 firefighters were mobilized on Sunday to try to put out a series of forest fires that ravaged Portugal, where scorching temperatures prompted the government to reinforce the mobilization of relief by decreeing a “state of contingency”.

The most important outbreak had been raging since Thursday in the region of Ourém (center) and mobilized nearly 700 firefighters alone.

The fire came 50 meters from the last house in the village […]. Everything burned up there, Donzilia Marques told AFP, pointing to the hills between her hamlet of Travessa de Almogadel and the town of Freixianda.

Evacuated from her home the previous evening, the 76-year-old retiree was able to return to it on Sunday morning, relieved to discover that no house there had been damaged.

The fire, which would have ravaged at least 1,500 hectares of vegetation according to a first estimate, however destroyed at least two houses, according to the emergency services, which reported other temporary evacuations of villages threatened by the flames.

Another blaze mobilizing 450 firefighters had been raging since Friday a few kilometers away, after having declared itself in the municipality of Pombal, also located at the confluence of the districts from Leiria and Santarém.

The fires of the last few days have caused around forty minor injuries among firefighters and the population, but most of the victims were treated on the spot for symptoms of intoxication or exhaustion, according to a report provided Sunday evening by the National Civil Protection Commander, André Fernandes.

For the third consecutive day, peacekeepers had to deal with more than a hundred new outbreaks of fires across the country, while the peak of extreme weather is still to come, underlined Mr. Fernandes.

Thermometers have already reached 44 degrees Celsius in places, and the Portuguese Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures will continue to rise until the end of the day. in the middle of next week

Up to 2,800 firefighters have been mobilized to put out three forest fires that have been raging for more than 48 hours in central and northern Portugal.

After this high-risk weekend, according to Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who canceled a trip to Mozambique to monitor the situation as closely as possible, the Portuguese government has thus decided to declare a state of contingency between Monday and Friday. , to raise the level of mobilization of the emergency services and the restrictions they can impose.

Lisbon has also asked the European Union to activate its Common Civil Protection Mechanism, obtaining the dispatch of two water bomber planes stationed in Spain.

If the Minister of #x27;Interior, José Luis Carneiro, claimed that Portugal was facing the worst conjunction of factors since the fires of June and October 2017, which left more than a hundred dead, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa argued that the level of relief preparedness was not comparable.

The s fires that are multiplying across the globe are associated with various phenomena anticipated by scientists due to global warming.

The increase in temperature, the multiplication of Heat waves and the drop in precipitation in places is an ideal combination for the development of fires.

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