Portugal’s center in the grip of a violent fire

Hundreds of Portuguese firefighters, backed by 14 water bombers, were still trying on Monday to stop a giant fire that broke out on Saturday in Oleiros, before spreading to the Castelo Branco region, 200 km north of Lisbon.

More than 850 firefighters are mobilized on Monday 27 July in Portugal to fight a fire that has ravaged part of the country’s center for two days, with strong winds and high temperatures complicating ground operations.

The Portuguese government declared the “emergency” for the whole country on Monday and Tuesday, which increased the level of preparedness for firefighters, police and emergency doctors. It is forbidden to light fires and access to forests will be limited.

The fire broke out in the town of Oleiros on Saturday afternoon before it spread to two nearby towns. Evacuations have already taken place.

A 21-year-old firefighter was killed in a car accident on Saturday night while fighting the fire and seven others were injured, including a civilian.

“I want to say a word of solidarity, encouragement and thanks to the firefighters (…) for the work they do for Portugal and for all of us,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a statement on Sunday. communicated.

According to the Portuguese meteorological agency IPMA, the high temperatures are expected to continue and the temperature in the district of Castelo Branco, where the municipalities concerned are located, is expected to reach 38 ° C on Monday.

Portuguese Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said it would be necessary to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday for firefighters to get the fire under control.

From June to October, fires destroyed the center of the country in 2017, killing a total of 114 people.

With Reuters