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Hundreds of volunteers plant trees to replace Portugal's burned forests

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Hundreds of volunteers plant trees to replace Portugal's burned forests

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Portugal has started the process of recovering huge areas of forest lost in fires that struck the country last year.

On Sunday over 3000 volunteers planted around 67,000 trees in Leiria in central Portugal.

More than 80 percent of the famous pine forest was lost in the blazes that also claimed 114 lives

"We are from this region," explained one of the organisers, Alexandra Serodio. "We are all used this forest, we all have good memories of this forest, we had picnics here... This is a place where our families met. The fire changed things for us. What was asked of us, it was the forest itself that cried out for help."

"I thought this was important, given what happened to our "Pinhal da Leiria". And if everyone helps it's easier and we can do something to correct what happened here," said volunteer Daniel Gaspar.

The organizers of the reforestation said Sunday's planting was only a first step as 30 million new trees are needed to fully recover the area.

Last year's fires destroyed 520,000 hectares of forest in Portugal, an area nearly 52 times the size of Lisbon.