France, Germany, Italy and Spain have all answered Portugal’s call for help in battling forest fires continuing to rage across the country.Two specially equipped aircraft are due to arrive from France today while Berlin is sending three “Super Puma” police helicopters with up to 25 officers. More than 50 fires are now burning in eleven of the country’s 18 districts. Central and northern Portugal have been worst affected. Hundreds of people evacuated from their villages have been forced to watch their homes go up in flames. Portugal is also suffering from its worst drought on record. The casualty list grew again this weekend with people unable to escape the flames fanned by strong winds and hot weather. All of which adds to the catalogue of misery which has seen 13 people killed, including four civilians. Some 3,000 firefighters, most of them volunteers, are tackling the blazes. Despite their best efforts around 134,000 hectares have been destroyed.
Europeans send fire-fighting aid to Portugal