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Fires rage on in Portugal as death toll rises

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Fires rage on in Portugal as death toll rises


Forest fires raging across Portugal have claimed more victims, the death toll has now risen to at least 15.

It seems the worst is not over yet, 11 blazes are still burning out of control. The worst affected areas are in central and northern Portugal with the Coimbra district one of the hardest hit. In all about 140,000 hectares of land have been destroyed. Urgent appeals from Lisbon for outside help have been answered. One group of about 30 firefighters from Germany is already on the ground. Spain, France, the Netherlands and Italy have also mobilised teams and water-dropping aircraft. They will be providing back-up to some 3000 Portuguese firefighters whose job has been made all the harder by a severe drought, hot weather and winds. The fires have left many families devastated having lost all their possessions. Though Spain has lent Portugal firefighting equipment it too is grappling with large scale forest blazes. The region of Galicia in the north west of the country is on red alert. It is feared many of the fires there have been started by arsonists. But there is some good news in the Pyrenees, the worst fire in France this summer has now been brought under control. But concern that winds may whip up the flames again means the area remains on high alert.
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