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News > Portugal

Two Large Fires Cause Evacuation of People in Portugal

  • Portuguese firefighters battle wildfires, Aug. 7, 2023.

    Portuguese firefighters battle wildfires, Aug. 7, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @postaldoalgarve

Published 7 August 2023

The World Meteorological Organization said that the summer of 2023 is resulting in major damage to people's health and the environment.

On Monday, over 2,000 troops fight 14 forest fires in Portugal, paying special attention to two fires that have caused the evacuation of close to a hundred people and two minor injuries.


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The Portuguese Civil Protection reported that the work to extinguish the flames is being made difficult by "the wind and the high temperatures", which are close to 40 degrees Celsius.

About 300 troops with 88 vehicles and 2 aerial means fight a fire in the town of Ourem, which is located about 140 km north of Lisbon in the Santarém district, where two firefighters have received minor injuries during their work.

In Odemira, in the Beja district, 637 troops with 183 vehicles and 8 aerial means are fighting a fire that has caused minor injuries to a firefighter and the evacuation of some 100 residents.

Portugal currently registers 14 forest fires, which have mobilized 2,053 troops, 659 land resources and 19 air resources. Most of the fires occur in the center of the country.

On Friday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that the summer of 2023 is "a summer of extremes," resulting in major damage to people's health and the environment.

Dangerous weather, including intense heat and devastating rainfall, has impacted large parts of the world in this summer, WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis said, adding that many new station temperature records around the world were broken in July.

In a series of updates on extreme weather, WMO said earlier that many countries like France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia all reported new maximum daytime and overnight station temperature records. Large parts of the United States were also gripped by extensive heatwaves.

"We need to broaden focus beyond maximum temperatures because the minimum temperature is most important for health and critical infrastructure," said WMO extreme heat senior advisor John Nairn.

WMO pointed out that heatwaves are among the deadliest natural hazards with thousands of people dying from heat-related causes each year, while the full impact of a heatwave is often not known until weeks or months afterwards.

According to WMO, sea surface temperatures of the Mediterranean are set to be exceptionally high in the coming days and weeks, exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in some parts, and more than four degrees Celsius above average in a large part of the western Mediterranean.

The impacts of marine heatwaves include migration of species and extinctions, arrival of invasive species with consequences for fisheries and aquaculture.

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