Firefighters killed in Portugal blaze | News | Al Jazeera

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: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    How has the international arms trade exacerbated conflict in the Middle East? People and Power investigates.

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.