Forest fires rage on Madeira Island

2012-07-19 16:29

Lisbon - Forest fires are burning on Portugal's Madeira Island, and residents living near wooded areas at the edge of the largest city fled in panic after one blaze engulfed an unspecified number of houses and threatened others.

Portugal's state-run Lusa news agency says fires also broke out on Thursday outside the city of Funchal, a day after the fire that sent towering flames illuminating the city's outskirts.

Television images showed Funchal residents late on Wednesday night using garden hoses to try to put out fires near homes and brooms to beat down flames on rooftops.

Lusa says 14 school children were removed on Thursday from a school and 40 people were evacuated from homes because of fires. Madeira Island is part of an archipelago near the western coast of Africa.