Portugal to Deploy Record Number of Crews to Battle Wildfires

Large increase in personnel, vehicles, and aircraft

 

Scientist Police inspects the remains of the car where two women died after a wild fire in Pontevedra, in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, Spain, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. Authorities in Portugal and Spain say that hundreds of wildfires fanned by strong winds have caused multiple deaths as people got trapped by fast moving fires. (AP Photo/Lalo R. Villar)

 

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — After an exceptionally dry winter and weeks of unseasonably high temperatures, Portugal is assembling a record number of firefighters and water-dropping aircraft as it braces for a potentially difficult wildfire season.

The Interior Ministry says Wednesday that almost 11,500 firefighters and allied staff, including soldiers and police, will be deployed in the peak wildfire months of July through September. That is almost 800 more than last year. They will be supported by up to 60 planes and helicopters and almost 2,500 vehicles.

Portugal witnesses thousands of wildfires each year, largely due to poor forest management.

In 2017, 106 people died in Portuguese wildfires in what was by far the deadliest summer fire season on record.

No one died last year in wildfires after the government took exceptional measures.

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