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Wildfires sweep through central Portugal

BBC News logo BBC News 7/21/2019
a man with dark hair and a sunset in the background: At least one village was evacuated as the huge fires spread © AFP At least one village was evacuated as the huge fires spread

Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to central Portugal where several wildfires have forced people to flee their homes.

One person has suffered serious injuries. At least seven firefighters have also been hurt.

Helicopters and planes have been used to douse three blazes in the mountainous Castelo Branco region, where one village has been evacuated.

On Sunday, officials said two of the fires had been brought under control.

The fires started on Saturday afternoon and were fanned by strong winds that made them more difficult to contain. "We are ready for a difficult day," Belo Costa, a civil protection official, told reporters early on Sunday.

Hundreds of vehicles, including four bulldozers, have been used to tackle the fires. Army soldiers have been deployed.

Several major roads are closed.

a man standing in front of a sunset: One person tries to put out the fire as it gets close to his house © AFP One person tries to put out the fire as it gets close to his house a sunset in the background: At least 800 firefighters have been deployed © AFP At least 800 firefighters have been deployed

A person who suffered first and second degree burns was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Lisbon.

Temperatures in the Castelo Branco region are expected to reach 31C (88F) on Sunday. Six regions in central and southern Portugal have been placed on maximum fire alert.

Wildfires are an annual problem in Portugal. The country is warm, heavily forested, and affected by strong winds from the Atlantic.

Dozens of people were killed in huge fires there in 2017.

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