Fires rage around Portugal's tourist spots

Last updated at 14:02 27 July 2004

Hundreds of firefighters are battling forest fires across Portugal in a heatwave which has brought temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

The tourist region of Faro on Portugal's southern coast was hardest hit, with more than 150 firefighters working in mountains near the spa town of Monchique, a spokesman for the national emergency service said.

Across Portugal, hundreds of firefighters backed by water trucks, helicopters and a plane were battling to contain blazes, with the districts of Porto and Vila Real also hit.

Greece is sending two planes to Portugal to fight the fires while Italy has put an aircraft on standby following the country's plea for help, the EU executive Commission said in a statement.

Portugal is recovering from huge fires last year that destroyed 13 percent of its forests and woodlands.

Smoke from a fire in Mafra, about 30 km (20 miles) north of Lisbon, could be smelt in the streets of the capital.

Portugal has been hit by nearly 10,000 individual fires which have burned more than 26,800 hectares (66,200 acres), according to forest service figures from July 18.

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