More than 30 people killed by Portugal’s uncontrollable deadly forest fires

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At least 31 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in the fires that hit central and northern Portugal, according to sources from the Civil Protection Office on Monday confirmed. Neither July nor August: October and, specifically, Sunday 15, will be remembered in the country as the worst day of the year due to the high number of forest fires. There are more than 500 outbreaks, there are roads and motorways cut off and several villages have had to be evacuated because of the danger of flames that expand with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, humidity below 20{87f6757ed5a2a501381e96df4c9f3a95e5041f34389cd1fe4c54dbd69b50d9cb} and strong winds that carry the drama from one part of the country to another.

Of the 500 fires at midnight on Sunday, on Monday there were still 108 assets, which were working more than 5,000 firefighters. "All the means available to the country are working towards extinction," said Civil Protection director Patrícia Gaspar, who does not expect the extinction of all fires to occur before Tuesday. The whole center and the north of the country is on red alert.

Europe burns, but Portugal more

The most serious fires in the country, as is happening during this disastrous season, are grouped in the center, in the sierras that surround Coimbra (approximately 134,000 inhabitants), although the wave of fires extends for Valença, Sertã, Viana do Castelo, Braga, Viseu and Monção. Up to 17 firefighters and six civilians have been burned in a number of accidents during firefighting operations, although none of them have serious injuries, according to the mid-afternoon report on Sunday.

Two of the victims died in the municipality of Penacova, in the district of Coimbra. A third died in the municipality of Sertã, in the district of Castelo Branco, others in Vouzela and Oliveira do Hospital, also in the district of Coimbra.

During the whole day of Sunday, fifteen roads were cut, especially in the north of the country. The northern motorway, the N1, was cut in both directions between Mealhada and Albergaria; was also cut in both directions the A11 between Figueiredo and Braga. Several villages and a campsite in Figueira da Foz have been evacuated at the risk of being hit by the flames.

Arson

The secretary of State for Internal Administration of Portugal announced the first hour of the night of the Sunday that most of the fires had been provoked, since they were declared in grazing lands and just one day before the announcement of the arrival of the rain

In neighboring Galicia, the flames are calcining everything, especially the south. This weekend there were more than a hundred active lights and, thanks to the luvia, there are now ten. Four people have died carbonized in the Spanish Autonomous Community and the emergency services and personnel of the UME (Emergency Military Unit) continue to work in the extinction tasks to prevent the flames from spreading to urban centers such as Vigo (almost 300,000 inhabitants, the most populated city of Galicia).

By midnight, groups of people had taken refuge in service stations because they could not continue traveling with their cars when they came across the cut roads. The police escorted them to these makeshift shelters.

The hectares burned throughout the year are already approaching 150,000, a figure never reached since 2007. The black Sunday arrived in a week in which the Government decided to extend until the end of the month the monitoring program of the mountains and maximum alert .

Also on Friday was the investigation into the June fire in Pedrógão, where 64 people died, all the first hours of the incident. The report concludes that communication systems failed at the start of the fire, which the research attributes to lightning as a trigger.

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