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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 17 July, 2019
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Fires blaze across the Algarve in Portugal

Fires have hit the Madeira islands and the mainlands over the past 72 hours.

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on July 19, a day after the fires broke out. Red outlines indicate high surface temperatures associated with actively burning fires. Thick smoke blows away from the blazes toward the southwest.
NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on July 19, a day after the fires broke out. Red outlines indicate high surface temperatures associated with actively burning fires. Thick smoke blows away from the blazes toward the southwest.
Image: NASA image via LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.

MORE THAN 1,400 firefighters have been tackling fierce blazes raging across the Algarve and the Madeira islands for the past 72 hours.

Various rescue teams, backed by 250 fire trucks, helicopters and water bombing planes, are also working to extinguish the worst fires to hit the area in years.

According to Lusa news agency, firefighters are trying to stop the fire from spreading westward towards the Loulé region. They said that the situation is better now than it was at dawn as fires are starting to come under their control.

Six firemen have been injured in the operation so far but all were discharged from hospital following treatment.

The flames, raging since Wednesday, have ravaged 5,000 hectares and destroyed at least five houses near the town of Tavira east of Algarve’s capital Faro.

The Algarve Tourism Board has issued an appeal to hoteliers in the region for food and drink donations to be delivered to information offices in Faro, São Brás de Alportel, Olhão, Tavira and Monte Gordo.

Madeira was already suffering from severe drought by July 2012, and the wildfires began burning in the midst of temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius

Separately, the country’s regional secretary for the environment and natural resources today announced monetary upport for farmers affected by the fires in Madeira.

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