Home News Portugual seeks EU help to contain deadly wildfires

Portugual seeks EU help to contain deadly wildfires

Published on 04/09/2012

Portugal has sought EU help to battle wildfires raging in the centre of the country for the past few days that have left at least one man dead, civil protection officials said.

Two people were also injured when a Russian-built water-carrying helicopter crashed Monday as it was trying to douse the flames, which have destroyed at least two houses and a factory.

About 3,000 firefighters have been brought in to battle about 20 bushfires that broke out on Sunday, with temperatures in the past few days exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

A 54-year-old man was found burnt to death in the village of Urqueira near the town of Ourem on Monday after apparently trying to save his chicken farm, local mayor Paulo Fonseca said, according to the Lusa news agency.

Two firefighters have already lost their lives this summer and the Portuguese civil protection agency said it has called for help from the European Union to try to contain the fires.

Portugal has been in the grip of a severe drought since the start of the year, and fires have destroyed over 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) between January and August, according to The Institute of Conservation and Forestry.

Police said they have detained around 40 suspected arsonists this summer.