Wildfires burning in heavily forested Castelo Branco region, central Portugal


More than 1 000 firefighters are battling several large wildfires in central Portugal since July 20, 2019. Fanned by strong winds, the fires are burning in heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 km (124 miles) N of capital Lisbon.

Several national highways were closed and numerous villages evacuated in a region where dozens were killed by huge wildfires in 2017, Civil Protection said. One resident and 4 firefighters were injured and transported to hospitals. One firefighter sustained serious injuries.

Although more than 1 000 firefighters are battling the fires, with the help of the army and around 20 helicopters and airplanes, locals are saying there are not enough of them and urging officials to send more.

Copernicus Academy member Celso Coco made a very preliminary and unofficial estimate of the area affected as of early Sunday, July 21. The affected area is believed to be more than 8 000 ha (19 800 acres) and very close to the catastrophic 2017 wildfires in which more than 60 people lost their lives.

Featured image credit: Eumetsat, Meteo Badajoz


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