Portugal will go on high alert as more than 850 firefighters struggle to put out a fire sweeping across part of the country’s central region on Sunday, with strong winds and high temperatures complicating efforts to tackle the blaze.
The wildfire has been raging in the municipality of Oleiros since Saturday afternoon but it has spread to two neighbouring municipalities and has already forced the precautionary evacuation of a number of people.
A 21-year-old firefighter died in a road accident on Saturday evening while fighting the fire, and seven others were injured, including one civilian.
“I would like to send a word of solidarity, encouragement and thanks to the firefighters … for the work they do for Portugal and for all of us,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a statement.
Portugal’s government issued the “situation of alert” for the whole country for Monday and Tuesday, raising the readiness levels of firefighters, police and emergency medical services. There is a ban on lighting fires and access to forests will be limited.
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