Portugal is once again in the grip of massive forest fires. Up to 2,800 firefighters mobilized on Sunday to try to overcome a series of fires that devastated the country, also a victim of scorching temperatures. The government then strengthened the mobilization of aid by decreeing a “state of contingency”.

The largest outbreak raged in the Ourém region (center) since Thursday and alone has mobilized nearly 700 firefighters. “The fire reached 50 meters from the last house in the town (…). Everything burned there, “Donzilia Marques told AFP.

The fire, which according to a first estimate would have devastated at least 1,500 hectares of vegetation, destroyed at least two homes, according to the emergency services, which reported other temporary evacuations of villages threatened by flames.

Forty wounded

Another fire that mobilized 450 firefighters raged on Friday a few kilometers away, after having declared itself in the municipality of Pombal, also located at the confluence of the districts of Leiria and Santarém.

The fires in recent days have resulted in some 40 minor injuries among the firefighters and the population, but most of the victims were treated on the spot for symptoms of intoxication or exhaustion, according to a report provided Sunday evening by the national commander. , André Fernandes.

An impending temperature spike

For the third consecutive day, peacekeepers have had to cope with more than 100 fires across the country, while “the peak of extreme weather” is yet to come, underlined André Fernandes.

The thermometers have already reached 44 degrees Celsius in some places and the Portuguese Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures will continue to rise until the middle of next week.

“State of emergency” activated

After this “high-risk” weekend, according to Prime Minister Antonio Costa, the Portuguese government has thus decided to decree a “state of contingency” between Monday and Friday, to raise the level of mobilization of services by one step. any restrictions they may impose.

Lisbon also asked the European Union to activate its common civil protection mechanism, obtaining the dispatch of two hydro bombers stationed in Spain.

Fires that are multiplying around the world are associated with various phenomena predicted by scientists due to global warming. Rising temperatures, multiplying heat waves and decreasing rainfall in places are an ideal combination for developing fires.

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