Portuguese fires under partial control, weather raises concerns

Portuguese fires under partial control, weather raises concerns

A firefighter helps to put out a forest fire next to the village of Cardigos
A firefighter helps to put out a forest fire next to the village of Cardigos, Portugal, Jul 22, 2019. (Photo Reuters/Rafael Marchante)

LISBON: Fires that swept across central Portugal for nearly 48 hours were under partial control on Monday (Jun 22), but adverse weather conditions are raising concern they will flare up again.

The last of three wildfires that broke out on Saturday in Castelo Branco, a district 225km northeast of Lisbon, is now 90 per cent under control, a Civil Protection official said early on Monday.

Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos
Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos, Portugal, Jul 22, 2019. (Photo Reuters/Rafael Marchante)

Reminding that firefighters have a "very difficult day" ahead, the official said the wildfire is still 10 per cent active and the remaining flames require "a lot of attention".

Around 1,040 firefighters are on the ground, backed up by 332 firefighting vehicles and five airplanes, according to Civil Protection.

Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos
Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos, Portugal, Jul 22, 2019. (Photo Reuters/Rafael Marchante)

After spreading to the neighbouring Santarem district, the three wildfires threatened several villages in the Vila de Rei and Macao municipalities, forcing evacuations and injuring 31 people, one in serious condition.

A number of municipalities in Santarem and Castelo Branco are still considered at maximum risk of fire, according to the national meteorological agency. Temperatures could reach 40 degrees Celsius in some areas on Monday. Low humidity and moderate wind is also expected.

Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos
Trees are seen after a forest fire near the village of Cardigos, Portugal, Jul 22, 2019. (Photo Reuters/Rafael Marchante)

Source: Reuters/zl

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