Hundreds of wildfires erupt across Portugal, again
Deadly forest fires in Portugal have resumed after a brief respite. Authorities have mobilized thousands of fire crews in the north and central parts of the country, reports said.
“A brush fire close to Gondomar, in the district of Poto, was fought by 254 firefighters, planes and two helicopters from the Portuguese army.” AFP reported.
The fires have so far claimed five lives, after a young female fire crew fighter was killed on Thursday, left five missing and nine others injured, officials said.
Blazing fires, fueled by drought and high temperatures and fanned by high winds, have forced the authorities to evacuate dozens of villages and communities in the heart of the country.
“If the police hadn’t got me out of the house, I would have died in the flames,” said a villager from Bracal in the Caramulo mountains north of Lisbon where the 21-year-old firefighter died, reports said.
“The wind blows with such an intensity that it constitutes the main obstacle to firefighters,” said commander of the firefighters in Aveiro.
As more fires erupted in the south, ” a forest fire near Sever do Vouga led to the mobilization of 100 Portuguese firefighters who were helped by Croatian planes, which had arrived on Saturday.”
“We thought we were in a war zone,” a young villager in Caramulo, told AFP.
“The firefighters who came to save the house of my parents told me it was like a firestorm.”
Forest fires have destroyed tens of thousands of hectares throughout the country, so far this year.
“All the natural wealth has been destroyed,” said Humberto Cerqueira, mayor of Mondim de Basto, a town near the national park of Alvao, where the blazes have consumed 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of pine. The scenes were “something out of Dante,” he told AFP.