Firefighters Battle Wildfires In Portugal, Spain

Firefighters battle wildfires in Portugal, Spain

LISBON, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -7th Sept,2016) : Thousands of firefighters in Spain and Portugal were Wednesday battling blazes that threatened locals and tourists, as authorities hoped that the arrival of cooler weather would help tame the flames.

One of the most devastating fires was raging in Portugal's Peneda-Geres National Park not far from the border with Spain's northern Galicia region where five major wildfires raged. "Pastures have burned, there is nothing for livestock to eat," said the deputy mayor of the nearby city of Arcos de Valdevez, Helder Barros.

"It is a calamity for the natural park, the only one in Portugal, and for tourism." The blaze encircled two hamlets of granite houses, Paradela and Varzea, leading officials to temporarily evacuate their residents overnight because of the risk from the flames.

"We were surrounded by flames on all sides, police ordered me and my husband to leave the house but we refused," Eva, a 71-year-old resident of Paradela, told Portuguese television as she tried to put out the flames with her garden hose.

In Portugal, more than 2,700 firefighters backed by aircraft were at the scene of about 80 fires on Wednesday, down from the 3,800 deployed at 100 fires the previous night, the country's civil protection agency said.

Carlos Guerra, an official with the agency, on Wednesday said most fires were under control even if not fully extinguished. The mercury has topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent days but the national weather office forecast maximum temperatures would drop by between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.

Still, over a third of the country faced a "very high" or "maximum" risk of wildfires on Wednesday. Some 300 firefighters brought one of the largest fires which has been burning since Monday near the northern town of Boticas under control on Wednesday afternoon. Local officials evacuated children and the elderly from a nearby hamlet overnight.