Firefighters tame major Portugal wildfire

2013-08-31 21:02
(Photo: file, AFP)

(Photo: file, AFP)

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Lisbon - Firefighters in Portugal tamed a major blaze but were still on alert on Saturday for further outbreaks of wildfires which have already claimed five lives and ravaged thousands of hectares of forest.

"The situation is much calmer but we remain on the alert," said Carlos Guerra, the spokesperson for the civil protection authority.

Hundreds of Portuguese fighters backed by Spanish and French aircraft have been battling wildfires in the north and centre of the country for days.

The European Commission said on Saturday that Croatia would send two aircraft to join the firefighting efforts.

A major blaze in the central Caramulo mountain range was brought under control on Friday night after raging for three days and claiming three firefighters' lives.

The mountain range, nicknamed "Portugal's lungs", was renowned for its sanatoriums for people suffering from respiratory illnesses.

A 20-year-old man was detained on Friday over suspicions of having sparked the Caramulo fire.

Portugal is highly prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation.

Read more on:    portugal  |  fires

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