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Wildfire inferno forces hospital and homes to be evacuated on Portuguese island Madeira

17/08/13 18:27 CET

A raging wildfire forced the evacuation of a hospital and homes on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Patients had to be transferred to army buildings while around 130 firefighters battled the flames.

The fire hit the Monte suburb of the capital Funchal. It had been burning out of control for the 24 hours and worsened overnight on Friday, officials said.

Authorities said it was too early to say how many homes were destroyed by the fire.

Forest and bush fires also raged on the Portuguese mainland.

A fire that broke out on Thursday in Aldeia Vicosa, near the central city of Guarda, was still spreading early on Saturday, despite the efforts of nearly 200 firefighters.

According to the latest report by Portugal’s Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), nearly 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of forestland has gone up in smoke in the first seven months of the year.

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