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Two Italian water bomber planes are to be loaned to Portugal as the authorities battle a number of forest fires, mainly in the north of the country.

The firefighting aircraft have been made available through the European Union’s solidarity mechanism.

Spain has already provided their Iberian neighbours with aircraft, but the Portuguese requested futher help to combat the blazes.

Michael Mann is a European Commission spokesperson: “Portugal requested heavy aerial means to combat forest fires yesterday, they requested two water bomber planes. The request immediately triggered several offers of assistance by Italy, Greece and France.”

Raging wildfires are a feature of the Portuguese summer, and the solidarity mechanism has been set up to help EU member states in times of trouble.

France says it will base two aircraft on Corsica to assist Portugal if the country is hit with any further emergencies.

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