Portugal forest fires ‘under control’
Portugal remained on alert Sunday for changeable weather that could stoke new forest fires, but emergency services said they were satisfied that blazes in the country's north and centre were under control.
“It’s a pleasant surprise. The situation is much calmer,” said Carlos Guerra, spokesman for the Civil Protection Authority, adding that strong winds that exacerbated the fires had subsided.
Portugal has embraced the newly calm atmosphere after a blaze that claimed the lives of three firefighters in the central Caramulo mountains was contained on Friday.
The abatement of the Caramulo fire freed up resources to tackle the 313 other fires known to firefighters on Saturday, Guerra said.
“That allowed us to channel our resources to where they were most needed,” he said.
Hundreds of Portuguese fighters backed by Spanish and French aircraft have been battling wildfires in the north and centre of the country for days.
Croatia sent two aircraft to join the firefighting efforts, which aided three French planes on Sunday.
The weather anticipated in the next few days could cause a worsening of the situation, however, with strong winds, dry conditions and high temperatures expected.