| 22 April 2024, Monday |

Hundreds of firefighters battle blaze near Lisbon

Hundreds of firefighters battled a fire that was raging in a Portuguese town close to the capital Lisbon despite the fact that the fire was more difficult to put out due to the high temperatures and strong winds.

Around 3 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Sunday, a fire broke out in a mountainous part of the municipality of Mafra. As a result, more than 400 firefighters were dispatched, supported by 123 vehicles and water-bombers.

A huge cloud of black smoke billowed over the town of Venda do Pinheiro, in Mafra, with the fire forcing authorities to block several roads and evacuate a care home. Many locals left their homes out of fear.

Smoke rising from the fire could be seen from Lisbon’s city centre, around 33 km (21 miles) south, according to a Reuters witness.

Other fires were raging elsewhere in Portugal, including in the central municipality of Ourem, where flames destroyed thousands of hectares two weeks ago. More than 1,000 firefighters were mobilised across the country.

Like other European nations, Portugal experienced a scorching heatwave in recent weeks, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in various parts of the country. Although the heat has eased, temperatures are climbing again.

Weather agency IPMA said three districts in northern Portugal would be on “red alert” for extreme heat on Monday.

  • Reuters