More than 3,000 firefighters battled with ordinary Portuguese people to save their homes from a series of wildfires across Europe on Thursday due to extreme weather and drought.
The central part of the country was particularly hard hit this week. Residents of the village of Bemposta used garden hoses to spray their gardens and roofs to save them from the flames of a red flame when it fell late Wednesday.
Pointing to the fire at the edge of his village, 88-year-old Antonio Carmo Pereira said: “I could see the scene, but in a few minutes I couldn’t see anything, just smoke.
“(Yes) It’s dangerous. They surrounded all the houses.” I’m scared, but where can I go? Jump into the water tank? Stay here and see.
More than 800 firefighters are still fighting Thursday morning in Bemposta, Lilia district.
He predicted that the Atlantic Ocean temperature would drop to 44C (111F) during the day, as hot and dry winds from Africa slowed down on the western tip of the Iberian Peninsula. In June, 96 percent of Portugal was hit by a “severe” or “severe” drought.
The warm air and dry land, combined with the wind, made a perfect cocktail for heavy fires.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that his government planned to extend the fire alert until Sunday, as temperatures would continue unusually high in the coming days. The week-long warning was initially announced until Friday. The government temporarily banned the use of endangered forests, the use of agricultural machinery, and fireworks.
Costa said firefighters were required to respond to 200 different fires on Wednesday and urged citizens to be extra careful while in the countryside.
“We have to be more careful than ever,” says Costa. “A little tragedy can be born out of a little carelessness.”
Villages fight # wildfires in # Portugal. # Europe is breathing. # Climate change
10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) were burned in Portugal this week, according to the Civil Protection Agency.
Civil Defense Commander Andre Fernandez said 135 people had been injured so far, including 70 firefighters, but no one had been confirmed. Portugal has improved its fire safety after a wildfire killed more than 100 people.
The European Union (EU) has warned member states to be prepared for wildfires this summer, which scientists say is being blamed on climate change.
Neighboring Spain was still battling a blaze that engulfed nearly 3,500 hectares (8,600 hectares) on Monday in the west-central Las Huddes.
Temperatures in many parts of Spain have been high for 40 days (104F) for several days and are expected to continue until next week.
For the third day in a row, two firefighters and paratroopers tried to contain two fires in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France.
The fire destroyed more than 3,850 hectares (9,500 hectares) of forest and grassland in the state, the state said in a statement. Firefighters have been struggling to control the fire due to high winds and difficulty finding the heart of the fire.
In recent days, more than 6,000 people have been displaced from camps and villages.
Joseph Wilson reports from Barcelona, Spain. AP writers Angela Charlton contributed to this report in Paris, and Ciarán Giles in Madrid.