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Posted by portugalpress on October 08, 2017

Starting a little after 11pm on Friday, Portugal’s ‘nightmare with fire’ returned with avengeance.

Within hours a wildfire started almost certainly on purpose in Pampilhosa de Serra, Ribeira de Pena, in the district of Porto, had turned into a monster.

Still raging today, it was swiftly joined by other blazes from Pombal (Leiria) above Lisbon, all the way to Bragança and Vila Real.

Today (Sunday), the situation sees well over a thousand firefighters battling six “significant occurrences” (see fires website fogos.pt) with the help of hundreds of vehicles and air support, while in total 81 wildfires had been called in in the space of just 24 hours.

The Pampilhosa blaze on its own sees 600 firefighters still involved, many drafted in from outlying areas of Lisbon.

In some areas, villages have been evacuated while householders continue to play a key role in fighting flames in a bid to save rural communities.

On Saturday, CMTV carried numerous reports of people fighting with hoses and buckets “on their own” - calls to fire stations unanswered simply because corporations were busy elsewhere.

In Marco da Canaveses (Viseu) complaints highlighted forestland that has “not been cleaned” for years (despite frequent requests to councils to do so).

In Oleiros, where a fire started yesterday afternoon near the village of Cardal, a council worker was killed after the tractor he was using to create a firebreak toppled over on a hill.

According to tabloid Correio da Manhã, the machine rolled over and over, trapping the 51-year-old man in the cabin.

By the time rescue workers cut their way through to him, Avelino Mateus Ferreira had “died of his injuries”.

With temperatures still almost ridiculously high for what is now the start of the second week in October, the nightmare looks set to continue.

Rain is not forecast any day soon, reports CM, whose CMTV channel is accompanying the fires throughout the day.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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