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Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:46PM
Firefighters in Portugal (file photo)

Firefighters in Portugal (file photo)

According to the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, wildfires have destroyed 31,000 hectares of Portugal’s countryside this year. This is in comparison with 110,000 hectares ruined last year."
As many as 800 Portuguese firefighters are struggling to put out wildfires which have been burning over the past few days in remote regions of the country. The wildfires burning in a number of regions in the northern and central Portugal, have already claimed the life of at least one firefighter and injured nine others. The Portuguese government has set the alert level to maximum in about 20 districts in the central region of Viseu. The largest fires were in Fornelo do Monte in Viseu. Firefighters on the island of Madeira have been fighting against fires as well. Reports say fires have been also raging in the central region of Tondela. The cause of the fires remains unknown. Police have already questioned nearly 30 people suspected of being involved in causing the fires. According to the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, wildfires have destroyed 31,000 hectares of Portugal’s countryside this year. This is in comparison with 110,000 hectares ruined last year. Neighboring Spain has also been experiencing wildfires with hundreds of firefighters operating in the country’s northwestern region on August 23. A fire raged close to the village of Villardiegua de la Ribera, near the border with Portugal, consuming a national park. Spain is highly prone to forest fires during the summer months due to a combination of high temperatures, strong winds, and dry vegetation. SZH/SS
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