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Forest fires rage in northern Portugal

Published on 06/08/2016

More than 2,000 firefighters were battling scores of forest fires throughout northern Portugal on Saturday.

One of most devastating of the 79 blazes consumed an area of forest around the town of Melres e Medas, less than 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the northern city of Porto.

Two firefighters were injured, one through inhaling fumes and the other from a fall, the Lusa news agency reported.

Television images showed locals joining forces with the fire brigade to tackle the flames.

“We are trying to avoid the fire spreading. The biggest problem is the wind,” said town mayor Marco Martins.

Two planes and a helicopter were brought in to help tackle the blaze, the civil protection service said.

There was no word as to what started the fire, three of which were described as “substantial”, but Portugal is prone to forest fires during the hot summer months.

In 2013, more than 150,000 hectares of forest went up in smoke.