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Portugal firefighter killed as 1,000 battle blazes

A Portuguese firefighter was killed and seven were injured Saturday as more than 1,000 personnel battled to contain fires that have raged across the country for three days.

The female firefighter died and one colleague was injured in a road accident as they travelled to tackle a forest fire in the central Abrantes region, said a spokeswoman from the civil protection authority.

In a separate incident in the popular Algarve tourist region in southern Portugal, six firemen were injured and taken to hospital but discharged after treatment, local firefighting official Nuno Bento told Lusa news agency.

Firefighters using helicopters and water bombing planes have been tackling fires across the country that have been fanned by hot and strong winds.

The fires in the south, under control after raging since Wednesday, have ravaged 5,000 hectares (more than 12,000 acres) and destroyed at least five houses near the town of Tavira, east of Algarve’s capital Faro.

Four helicopters, four water bombing planes and some 250 firefighting trucks took part in the effort to contain the blaze.

Forest fires have also been raging on the tourist island of Madeira, as well as elsewhere in the region, in Spain and the Canary Islands.