Friday, August 18, 2017

Public calamity decreed in Portugal as wildfires continue to rage out of control

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 18,2017, 12:39:11PM,EDT
The government of Portugal has issued a state of public calamity as wildfires continue to burn across the country ahead of a weekend heat wave.
More than 10,000 separate fires have been recorded across Portugal this year according to The Portugal News.
While most of them have been associated with human negligence, rounds of intense heat and prolonged drought conditions have made the situation more serious than recent years.
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A man runs with a water hose as villagers join firefighters battling a forest fire coming close to houses in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 16 2017. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

The fires over the past week have injured 86 people, seven seriously, according to the Associated Press.
The combination of high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds will create a scenario for dangerous wildfire conditions from Saturday into Monday.
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Villagers watch a firefighting plane drop water to stop a raging forest fire reaching their houses just a few dozen meters away in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

The worst conditions are expected on Sunday as temperatures approach 40 C (104 F) across parts of the interior.
Northern and central interior areas will be at highest risk for new wildfires into early next week.
Temperatures will remain well above normal on Monday before falling back to near normal by Wednesday and Thursday lowering the wildfire threat.
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Wildfires have burned roughly 141,000 hectares (350,000) acres this year, nearly 500 percent above the average over the past 10 years, according to the Institute for Forests and Nature Conservation.
Fires in Portugal this year have accounted for more than one third of all burnt forest in the European Union, according to the Press Association.
A fire in June claimed the lives of 64 people in Portugal, including many who tried to escape the blaze in their automobiles.

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