Villages battle wildfires in Portugal as Europe swelters

More than 3,000 firefighters are battling ordinary Portuguese people who want to save their homes from the devastating wildfires that have engulfed Europe 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 the roofs of their houses on Wednesday night, hoping to save them from the red flames of the forest hills.

Antonio Carmo Pereira, 88, described the fire at the edge of his village: “It started to spread (right);

Forest fires at a house in the village of Bemposta, near Anciasia, central Portugal
A forest fire broke out in the village of Bemposta, near Armando Franca (AP) in central Portugal.

“(Yes) It’s dangerous. It’s all around the house.

“I’m scared, but where can I go? Jump into the pool? I’ll 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 the 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.

Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that his government planned to extend the state of emergency warnings until Sunday.

Firefighters wash their eyes in the village of Colmeas, near Lyria in central Portugal
Firefighters wash their eyes in the village of Colemeas, near Lilia, in central Portugal (Armando Franca / AP).

The government temporarily banned the use of endangered forests, the use of agricultural machinery, and fireworks.

Mr Costa said firefighters had to respond to 200 different fires on Wednesday and urged citizens to be extra careful when in the countryside.

“We need to be more careful than ever,” said Mr. Costa. “A little tragedy can be born out of a little carelessness.”

10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) were burned in Portugal this week, according to the Civil Protection Agency.

About 865 people were evacuated last week, although many returned by Thursday.

More than 30 homes and other structures were damaged.

Civil Defense Commander Andre Fernandez said at least 160 people had been injured, including at least 70 firefighters, but no deaths had been reported.

In the village of Bemposta, near the central Portuguese city of Anceao, an old man uses a garden hose to water the outside of his house.
An elderly man uses a garden hose as the forest darkens in the village of Bemposta, near Armando Franca (AP) in central Portugal.

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 is battling a fire that broke out on Monday in the west central Las Hurdes area of ​​3,500 hectares (8,600 hectares).

Temperatures in many parts of Spain are expected to continue for several days until next week when temperatures rise above 40 ° C (104F).

Two fires have broken out in southwestern Bordeaux, 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.

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