Weather Flares Up Wildfires in Portugal

Civil Protection Agency battles 17 forest fires

 

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Wildfires flared across Portugal on Thursday following a rise in temperatures and strong winds, ending days of cooler weather that had brought a brief respite from a spate of blazes, including one that killed 64 people in June.

The Civil Protection Agency said it was tackling 17 forest fires, deploying more than 1,500 firefighters and 24 water-dropping aircraft. The number of wildfires ratcheted up from seven in the space of a few hours, with most afflicting areas in central and northern Portugal.

A stretch of Portugal’s main north-south highway, the A1, was closed due to one blaze. Massive clouds of smoke prevented the use of water-dropping planes in some places. No injuries were reported.

Temperatures are forecast to keep rising in coming days, which could worsen what is already a bad year for forest fires. Portugal usually has woodla