Nearly 600 firefighters are fighting this Tuesday, August 17 against fires that started the day before in the tourist region of Algarve, south of Portugal, and that forced the evacuation of 60 people, informed the emergency services.
A firefighter was hospitalised after suffering burns, told AFP by a spokesman for the regional command of Civil Protection.
The fire started on Monday in the town of Castro Marim, near the border with Spain, and was controlled around noon, but regained strength in the afternoon.
At night, the flames affected a perimeter of almost 40 kilometres and an area of almost 9,000 hectares, said on Tuesday, the commander of Regional Civil Protection, Richard Marques.
Local media noted that the fire had destroyed a farm located on a hill full of vegetation and fruit trees.
The flames swept south towards the coast, forcing authorities to block traffic on the road that crosses the Algarve from east to west.
Traffic was cleared on the highway on Tuesday, but firefighters, supported by nearly 200 vehicles and eight planes or helicopters, feared because of “worrying” weather conditions, said Marques.
On Monday, the Portuguese government decided to extend for 48 hours the state of alert against fires decreed on Friday for most of the territory.
In neighbouring Spain, the fire registered in Navalacruz, in the province of Ávila (central-west) was still active, but the evolution was considered “favourable”. The flames burned 12,000 hectares and caused the evacuation of 1,000 people.
The fires have affected several countries in recent weeks, including Greece, Turkey, and Algeria. The flames are associated with several phenomena predicted by scientists due to climate change.
Portugal, affected in 2017 by the most lethal forest fires in its history, had so far had a relatively calm summer without flames.