Eleven larger forest fires were raging in various areas of Portugal on Thursday, July 14, 2022, the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) reported.
A total of 1,900 emergency workers are currently engaged in fighting the fires, the most concerning of which were in Aveiro in the north of the country, Leiria in the centre, Setúbal just 50 kilometres south of Lisbon and Faro in the south.
“A country on fire, read the title page of Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Notícias.’’
The alert level, which was raised to the third highest level of state of contingency on Monday, would remain raised until Sunday, Prime Minister António Costa announced on Thursday.
The country was also suffering from a heatwave with temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius
Tourists should be aware that campfires and fireworks had been banned, and access to forests restricted.
Along with the ongoing drought, strong winds were helping the fires to spread, according to the ANEPC.
However, some of the fires were also started due to negligence or even on purpose, authorities said. Arrests had already been made.
At least 130 people had been injured in the course of the fires, two of them seriously.
According to the environmental protection agency INCF, nearly 100 square kilometres have been ravaged by the fires since Saturday.
Houses, factories, and a golf course have also fallen victim to the flames.