The government declared a “state of emergency” from Monday to Friday next week and asked the EU to activate its joint civil protection mechanism, ensuring the dispatch of two water bombers stationed in Spain.

About 1,500 firefighters tried on Sunday to put out three forest and shrub fires that had raged for several days in central and northern Portugal, placed by the government in “state of emergencydue to the scorching temperatures.

The fire reached 50 meters from the last house in the town (…). Everything was burning up thereDonzilia Marques told AFP, pointing to the hills between her hamlet of Travessa de Almogadel and the town of Freixianda, in the municipality of Ourém (center). Evacuated from her home the night before her, this 76-year-old retiree was able to return Sunday morning, relieved to find that no houses had been burned there.

SEE ALSO – Portugal: Forestry specialist criticizes “unpreparedness” in the face of fires

The fire that broke out on Thursday, and which on Sunday mobilized more than 700 blue helmets after having devastated at least 1,500 hectares of vegetation, however, destroyed at least two houses, according to the civil protection. The fires in recent days have injured at least a dozen firefighters and about twenty among the population, but most of the victims were treated on the spot for symptoms of intoxication or exhaustion.

Another fire that mobilized 450 firefighters raged not far from there since Friday, in the municipality of Pombal, also located at the confluence of the districts of Leiria and Santarém. The other fire that broke out on Thursday in Carrazeda de Ansiães, in the Bragança region (northeast), was the other hot spot this weekend “high risk“, In the words of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who canceled a trip to Mozambique to follow the situation as closely as possible.

Temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius

The Portuguese government has decided to raise the alert level by decreeing the “state of emergencyfrom Monday to Friday next week, and asked the European Union to activate its common civil protection mechanism, obtaining the dispatch of two hydro bombers stationed in Spain.

We are facing an almost unprecedented situation in terms of time“, Commented the national commander of civil protection, André Fernandes, while on Friday and Saturday more than 120 fires were recorded per day.

Referring to temperatures that could reach 45 degrees Celsius, the Minister of the Interior, José Luis Carneiro, for his part said that Portugal has been confronted with the “worst combination of factors“From the fires in June and October 2017, which killed more than a hundred people.

Fires that are multiplying around the world are associated with various phenomena predicted by scientists due to global warming. The increase in temperature, the multiplication of heat waves and the decrease in precipitation in some places is therefore an ideal combination for the development of fires. The current heat wave is affecting a country where 28.4% of the territory was in a situation of “extreme droughtat the end of June, against 1.4% a month earlier.

SEE ALSO – Gard: firefighters continue to fight “a mega fire”

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