Fires broke out Saturday across three fronts in the district of Castelo Branco, 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northeast of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. This is the first major wildfire in Portugal this year.
About 1,800 firefighters were struggling to contain the wildfires. Villagers have tried to keep the flames away from their homes. At least 20 people were injured, including eight firefighters. While most of the injured were from smoke inhalation, one person was evacuated to a hospital to be treated for burns.In some parts there were not enough firefighters. Strong winds have made it more difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze. Firefighters were being supported by 19 firefighting aircraft and hundreds of vehicles. The Portuguese Army deployed a mobile kitchen to help feed those affected by the fire but many of them were asked to leave the area.
While a number of small villages were evacuated as a precaution overnight, no additional measures were planned. 106 people were killed in 2017 in wildfire. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Portuguese president, said he would be in contact with the mayors in the affected areas. Authorities were looking into whether the fires may have been started deliberately, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita told at a news conference. Regions of central and southern Portugal are on maximum fire alert because of the dry weather and winds.