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

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.