Portugal holiday warning as wildfires rage in ‘unprecedented situation’

The Green Planet: David Attenborough's warning over forest fires

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Portugal is fighting huge forest fires with more than 3,000 firefighters tackling the blaze. The fires have broken out as temperatures soar across Europe.

The Portuguese Government has announced a “state of contingency” from July 11 to 15 which is one level down from a state of emergency.

The national commander of civil protection, Andre Fernandes said: “We are facing an almost unprecedented situation in meteorological terms.”

Portugal has faced extreme weather this year with temperatures likely to reach 43 degrees this week.

In June, drought affected almost 30 percent of Portugal compared to just one percent in May.

Fires are burning across northern and central Portugal and more than 3,000 firefighters have been drafted in to tackle the blaze.

Authorities have said 12 firefighters and 17 civilians required medical assistance to treat minor injuries.

The EU has activated its firefighting air fleet assistance programme which allows member nations to share resources.

Spain has sent two firefighting planes to neighbouring Portugal to assist in tackling the blaze.

Just five years ago, wildfires in Portugal killed more than 100 people and the blazes are becoming more frequent.

The Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, cancelled a planned trip to Mozambique due to the fires.

The state of heightened alert in Portugal will remain in place until Friday as fire services continue to fight the fires.

Interior Administration Minister, Jose Luis Carneiro said: “This means we can automatically and preventively activate all emergency and civil protection plans at all territorial levels.”

Portugal’s president advised residents not to light fires outdoors or use any machinery that could cause sparks.

He said: “Preventing fires is the best help we can give our firefighters.”

British holidaymakers should follow all the advice from local authorities and be prepared to evacuate if they are in an affected area.

The fires are located in the northern and central areas of Portugal and are not in the popular tourist Algarve region.

Extreme weather events are likely to become more common as a result of the effects of climate change.

The EU has warned Europe is facing one of the hardest years for natural disasters as the climate crisis escalates.

Temperatures across Spain have soared with many residents choosing to stay indoors rather than face the heat.

The UK is all in the grips of a heatwave with temperatures set to soar above 30 degrees in the south of the country this week.

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