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Portugal calls for more help to tackle deadly forest fires

Portugal appealed for further international aid Monday to tackle forest fires raging in the country’s north and centre, with 30-metre flames towering over villagers in some areas.

The fires continued unabated after claiming the life of a female firefighter last week, despite French and Spanish jets dropping water on the affected regions.

Miguel Cruz, spokesman for the Civil Protection Authority, said the fires were likely to subside from Wednesday as temperatures fell, but called on France to extend its help.

In the town of Feitalinho, central Portugal, 400 firefighters and two French planes tackled a blaze Monday, while 500 more took on fires in the north and centre of Portugal.

Flames 30 metres (yards) high licked the village of Oliveira do Hospital, central Portugal, on Sunday, as villagers armed with buckets of water and branches fought back the fires.

Two Spanish bombardiers deployed to help put out the fires returned home at the end of last week, and were replaced by the French planes.