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Forest fires strike southern Portugal after devastating north

Several hundred people fled their homes in southern Portugal and Madeira overnight in the face of forest fires that have also ravaged parts of the north of the country, emergency officials said Tuesday.

On the Portuguese island of Madeira, a popular tourist destination in the eastern Atlantic, around 250 people were evacuated around the capital Funchal and spent the night in military facilities, the region’s civil protection officer, Rubina Leal said.

A number of homes were destroyed, she said, quoted by the Portuguese agency Lusa.

In the southern Portuguese district of Silva, about 50 residents were evacuated as a precaution while more than 350 firefighters battled a forest blaze, which they eventually mastered at daybreak, emergency services chief Richard Marques said.

Meanwhile, forest fires were raging for a fourth consecutive day in northern Portugal, where temperatures have surged to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Nearly 800 firefighters and 270 trucks were deployed against outbreaks in the Aveiro and Braga regions.