Firefighters killed in Portugal blaze

Six firefighters have died in Portugal while battling a forest fire in the centre of the country, emergency authorities said on Sunday.

    Portugal was hit hard last year by deadly forest fires

    The firemen, five Chilean nationals and one Portuguese, were attempting to extinguish a blaze in Famalicao when the wind apparently changed direction, fanning the flames.

    "The firefighters became surrounded by the flames and were not able to flee," said Antonio Gualdino, duty officer for Portugal's National Firefighter and Civil Protection Service.

    They had travelled from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, to Famalicao to investigate the incident, Gualdino said.

    More than 150 firefighters, backed by 28 vehicles and three  water-dropping aircraft, were at the scene of the blaze, which broke out near the town of Famalicao early on Sunday afternoon amidst scorching temperatures.

    High temperatures

    The five Chilean firefighters belonged to Afocelpa, a privately  run firm which offers firefighting and forest fire prevention  services to Portugal's three largest pulp and paper firms.

     

    Police have also detained a man whom they suspect of arson, local television reported.

     

    The forest fire was one of six burning out of control across  Portugal on a day when temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions.

     

    Portugal had suffered severe forest fires last summer, when flames killed 16 people and destroyed 325,226 hectares (803,308 acres) of forest and agricultural land.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?