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Tue Sep 4, 2012 10:18AM
Forest wildfires rage in Portugal’s north and center. (File photo)

Forest wildfires rage in Portugal’s north and center. (File photo)

Portuguese authorities have asked for the European Union’s help in fighting forest fires raging in the country’s center and north. A Portuguese Civil Protection Service official, Patricia Gaspar, said that the Portuguese government requested its European partners to send four aircraft equipped with aerial firefighting systems. At least 1,700 firefighters have been deployed to the affected areas to contain the flames that are being fueled by strong winds, rising temperatures and dry weather. About 500 firefighting vehicles and 13 aircraft were also sent to the mostly northern areas of Portugal to fight the flames. Meanwhile, according to reports, a firefighting helicopter that was being used in the region has crashed, injuring two people. Local Mayor Paulo Fonseca said Monday that a farmer also died while he was trying to protect his farm from a large blaze in Ourem, north of the capital city of Lisbon. SAB/HJL
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