No stranger to forest fires, Portugal had been relatively spared so far this summer. But with 14 separate blazes now raging in the north and centre of the country, more than 700 firefighters are now battling to bring them under control.
The main disaster zone is near Paredes in the north.
With temperatures approaching 40 degrees celsius in places while humidity drops, authorities had been expecting an increased risk – raising Portugal’s national fire alert to the second highest level. People were warned to be extra vigilant this weekend.
Following the devastating fires of recent years – 2003 saw the worst on record – the government has put in place a special strategy to prevent and tackle forest fires.