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Hospital evacuated in Madeira as fire encroaches

A raging wildfire has prompted the evacuation of a hospital outside Funchal, capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, officials said Saturday.

“Homes were affected, and part of the city, including a hospital, had to be evacuated,” city official Pedro Calado told the Lusa news agency.

The fire threatening the Funchal suburb of Monte has been burning out of control for the past 24 hours and worsened overnight, officials said.

Madeira authorities quoted by Lusa said the patients were likely to be able to return to the hospital later Saturday.

Forest and brush fires meanwhile raged on the Portuguese mainland.

A fire that broke out Thursday in Aldeia Vicosa, near the central city of Guarda, was still spreading early Saturday despite the efforts of nearly 200 firefighters.

According to the latest report by Portugal’s Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), nearly 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of forestland has gone up in smoke in the first seven months of the year.