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Portugal blaze 'under control'

After a 24 hour struggle, firefighters contain the fire in Serra da Estrela National Park.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 11:27
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More than one thousand firefighters were trying to extinguish about 15 fires in Portugal on Saturday. [Reuters]

A fire in Portugal's Serra da Estrela National Park has finally been under control after 300 firefighters, with help of planes and helicopters, battled against the flames for more than 24 hours.

"Early in the morning, with the strategy we defined with the elements in land and with the support from the air, we could dominate the fire" said Rui Esteves, commander of Civil Protection for Castelo Branco district said. 

"We hope to keep this operation with 275 firefighters in the field, supported by 74 vehicles. They will stay during the night to set up a perimeter around the fire to control the embers and to avoid a reactivation," added Esteves.

During the day, a long column of smoke covered part of the forest and some houses in Serra da Estrela.

Four planes and two helicopters were spraying water on the fire in different parts of the forest, especially those difficult to access by land.

Even with the fire under control, the winds in the region can reactivate the flames.

More than one thousand firefighters were trying to extinguish about 15 fires in Portugal on Saturday.

Last week, one firefighter died and nine others were injured tackling fires.

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