Violent resumption of forest fires in central Portugal

Lisbon | The wildfires that hit central Portugal this weekend resumed in force on Tuesday afternoon, scorched by scorching temperatures and strong winds, forcing the evacuation of several villages and mobilizing more than a thousand firefighters.

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According to the pictures taken by TV channels, firefighters and residents were trying to slow down the advance of the flames that threatened the municipalities of Leiria, Pombal, Orem or Alvaiziri located just over a hundred kilometers to the north. . Lisbon.

According to the data provided by the website of the National Civil Protection Authority, five crowds of nearly 1,300 firefighters, more than 300 vehicles and dozens of planes or helicopters in the same area, at the confluence of the provinces of Leiria and Santarém.

Three of them showed up on Tuesday, but the other two actually declared themselves last weekend, destroying about 2,500 hectares before they were considered confined on Monday morning.

The respite will be short-lived as these fires reactivated vigorously on Tuesday, thanks to additional warming temperatures and strong winds compared to the weekend.

“These are very violent fires with a very large circumference,” Andre Fernandez, the National Commander of Civil Protection, confirmed during a press briefing at the beginning of the evening, referring to the “extreme” and “unprecedented” weather conditions. “

He said several villages and about 300 people who were in the town of Freixianda, in the municipality of Ourem, had been evacuated.

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Traffic was halted on several roads, including the A1 motorway connecting Lisbon with northern Portugal.

Since Thursday, emergency services have identified about thirty minor injuries and at least ten homes damaged, according to an interim report.

In a country still traumatized by the deadly 2017 wildfires that killed more than a hundred people, the government has decided to strengthen the mobilization of emergency services and increase their powers.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa stressed on Tuesday that “the weather forecast for the next few days remains very worrying in terms of fire risks,” with temperatures expected to exceed 40 degrees in most parts of Portugal.

The thermometer rose to 43.1 degrees Celsius near the town of Abrantes in the Santarem region.

The heatwave is expected to continue to escalate on Wednesday, with 16 out of 18 regions in mainland Portugal placed on a red alert by the National Institute of Meteorology, double what they were on Tuesday.

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About the Author: Aldina Antunes

"Praticante de tv incurável. Estudioso da cultura pop. Pioneiro de viagens dedicado. Viciado em álcool. Jogador."

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