Several dozen forest fires are still out of control in Portugal as strong winds and high temperatures make the task even more difficult for emergency workers. Nearly three thousand firefighters have been in action, backed up by more than three hundred military personnel and a substantial number of water bombers. Twelve of the country’s eighteen provinces are affected.
The situation is not helped by the fact that Portugal is suffering its worst drought since records began. The country’s wheat crops have been virtually wiped out, and the lack of water is hitting the tourist industry in the popular Algarve region in the south. Some of the most dangerous fires are ravaging the countryside at Viseu and Pampilhosa da Serra in the central area of Coimbra. There are fears one blaze could reach a hospital in Viana do Castelo in northern Portugal. Prime Minister Jose Socrates has announced the launch of a prevention plan in September, as well as financial aid for the victims.