The country is in the grip of a heat wave and wildfires

AA / Alyssa McMurtry

While more than 2,300 firefighters are already battling fires in Portugal, the country’s president warned on Sunday that the risk of a fire would worsen dramatically during the week.

Scorching heat engulfed much of Portugal on Thursday, creating favorable conditions for the outbreak of dozens of wildfires.

According to Portuguese radio station RTP, 29 people have already been injured in the fires.

However, starting Tuesday, the mercury will rise even higher, exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in large parts of the country. Meteorologists expect low humidity and strong winds, increasing the risk of wildfires.

The heat wave is not expected to dissipate until Friday.

The Portuguese government has declared a state of emergency and has already requested urgent help from the European Union.

The European Union mobilized two Spanish planes on Sunday to fight the fires as part of the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa have canceled scheduled flights to Mozambique and New York.

In June 2017, another heat wave claimed 66 lives in the deadliest wildfire in Portugal’s modern history.

On Sunday, Rebelo de Sousa said he did not expect the situation to reach such a dangerous level over the next week.

“There is no comparison between our levels of preparedness today and those of 2017. The information available today is more reliable than before,” he said.[m1] -It rocks.

* Translated from the English by Mourad Belhadj

[m1]

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