LISBON, Portugal – More than 700 Portuguese firefighters and police officers were mobilized to battle a forest fire in a mountainous region close to Lisbon on Sunday, October 7, according to civil protection authorities, in the latest blaze to menace the country's popular tourist areas.
The fire, which has injured 18 including 9 firefighters, sparked overnight in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and was fanned by violent winds.
The gusts have since subsided, providing a "favorable" change for putting out the fire, Paulo Santos of the civil protection agency told local media.
The fire was still progressing on two fronts Sunday morning, with 47 people evacuated as a precaution from a camping ground nearby.
Sintra was recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1995 for its cultural landscape, which combines parks and buildings that date from several centuries of Portuguese history.
Meteorological authorities had issued a warning in recent days over high temperatures.
Portugal has suffered a series of deadly fires, with massive blazes in 2017 leaving scores dead and prompting the government to introduce a variety of safety measures and launch an ambitious reforestation project.
The number of fires in Portugal has significantly reduced this summer, with burned areas down 60% compared to the average over the last 10 years, according the Institute of Conservation Nature and Forests. – Rappler.com