PORTUGAL’S Algarve region continues to battle ferocious wildfires amid the stifling heatwave sweeping Europe. Here is all the latest you need to know.
More than 1,150 firefighters battled the blaze in the popular tourist region today.
The fire has injured 25 people as temperatures have soared to 46C (115F) in places, close to Portugal’s national record of 47.4C (117.3F).
Homes and hotels in the Algarve region have been evacuated as the fire, which began on Friday in Monchique in the Faro district.
As the blaze grew, consuming more than 1,000 hectares of forest, about 100 people were evacuated from villages near Monchique.
On Saturday, the blaze was boosted by scorching temperatures with “a real feel of 50C.”
A continent-wide heatwave has seen disasters including drought and wildfire from Greece to Sweden.
Emergency services have been racing to prevent the fire from causing the kind of devastation seen in Greece recently when at least 90 people were killed.
Scores of people were killed in two major forest fires in Portugal last year.
Victor Vaz Pino, commander of relief operations in Faro, told a local news outlet that people in rural areas were being moved “long before the fire hits”.
“The fire continues with two active fronts, one of them totally under control and close to extinction and another which continues to burn in an area inaccessible from the ground,” he said.
Portugal fires: More than 1,150 firefighters battled the blaze in the popular tourist region today.
Portugal’s Civil Protection Agency has been sending mobile text alerts warning of extreme fire risk in some areas.
Ten water-dropping planes have been assisting the firefighters.
The Foreign Office has updated their travel advice for the region today, stating that Travelling to Monchique area is “not advised” at this time.
The warning says: “The fire continues to burn in the area surrounding Monchique. The Portuguese authorities are evacuating the affected areas.
“If you’re in the area, follow the instructions of the Portuguese police and Civil Protection authorities.”
Meanwhile, in Spain, three deaths by heatstroke were reported over the weekend.
Spanish news reported two of the deaths occurred in southeastern Murcia region, while a third – believed to be a homeless person – died in Barcelona.
Temperatures reached 44C in the southern city of Cordoba, and wildfires have been raging near Nerva, southern Spain, and near the capital Madrid.
More fires have been reported in the Extremadura region close to the Portuguese border and in Catalonia near the French border.
In other parts of the continent, sweltering conditions had alarming side effects.
Portugal fires: On Saturday, the blaze was boosted by scorching temperatures with a real feel of 50C
In Sweden, the highest glacial peak was melting at a rate of several centimetres a day.
Some sections of road were closed in the Netherlands after asphalt melted in the heat.
Four nuclear reactors in France were forced to close because of the heat.
Climate change researchers have said that the global climate change factors have made the heatwave twice more likely than it would’ve been in previous years.