Publication Date August 20, 2017

Public calamity decreed in Portugal as wildfires continue to burn out of control

A man runs with a water hose as villagers join firefighters battling a forest fire coming close to houses in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 16 2017. Photo: Armando Franca, AP

The government of Portugal has issued a state of public calamity as wildfires continue to burn across the country ahead of a weekend heat wave.

More than 10,000 separate fires have been recorded across Portugal this year according to The Portugal News.

While most of them have been associated with human negligence, rounds of intense heat and prolonged drought conditions have made the situation more serious than recent years.


Wildfires have burned roughly 141,000 hectares (350,000) acres this year, nearly 500 percent above the average over the past 10 years, according to the Institute for Forests and Nature Conservation.

Fires in Portugal this year have accounted for more than one-third of all burnt forest in the European Union, according to the Press Association.

A fire in June claimed the lives of 64 people in Portugal, including many who tried to escape the blaze in their automobiles.