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Portugal wildfires: hundreds of firefighters tackle blaze in Odemira

FILE: Fire crews have been battling blazes in different parts of Portugal, including this wildfire in Carrascal, Proenca a Nova on August 6, 2023
FILE: Fire crews have been battling blazes in different parts of Portugal, including this wildfire in Carrascal, Proenca a Nova on August 6, 2023 Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Scott Reid with AFP
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Villages evacuated as attempts are made to bring days-old fires under control

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Hundreds of firefighters are battling to contain wildfires which have engulfed thousands of hectares. 

More than 1,400 people were evacuated as nearly 1,000 firefighters tackled a fire near the southern town of Odemira.

At least nine firefighters have been injured so far tackling the fires.

The blaze began on Saturday and was driven south towards the Algarve, the main tourism region of Portugal, by strong winds. 

A total of 19 villages have so far been evacuated. 

Elsewhere in the country, other major fires forced the closure of several stretches of motorway. Areas affected included parts of the A1 between Lisbon and Porto. 

Temperatures have been rising and are expected to exceed 40C across much of the Iberian peninsula this week. 

Civil protection officials said that work carried out overnight allowed for "stabilisation of the perimeter of the fire”, but there were still areas of concern.

Neighbouring Spain is experiencing its third heat wave this summer and has been battling a number of wildfires.

One of the regions currently affected by the fires is Extremadura. In Valencia de Alcantara, near the Portugal border, a fire has burnt around 300 hectares.

In Catalonia, on the Mediterranean coast on the border with France, the fire brigade announced on Monday morning that it had "brought under control" a fire that broke out on Friday, burning almost 600 hectares.

Two other fires are now under control. In Andalusia one affected some 450 hectares in the province of Huelva on Saturday and Sunday, while the other, which broke out less than 10 kilometres from the city of Cadiz on Sunday afternoon, engulfed a pine forest adjacent to the town of Puerto Real, causing a temporary closure of the motorway leading to Cadiz.

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