Portuguese officials reported on Thursday, June 22, that the major forest fires, which started on of Saturday, June 17, in Pedrógão Grande and spread across several fronts in central Portugal, are now under control. For over five days, over 2000 firefighters and some two dozen water-dropping aircraft fought the fires amid strong winds and temperatures of up to 40° C (104° F). As of Thursday, June 22, 64 fatalities and over 200 injuries have been reported. Approximately 30,000 hectares of land have been affected. Authorities have stated that the fires were most likely the result of a criminal act.
A map of the areas at risk of forest fire in Portugal can be found on the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) website.
While forest fires are common every summer in Portugal, this is likely the most deadly forest fire in the country's history. The Portuguese government declared three days of national mourning, from June 18 to 20.
There has been increased risk of wildfires in Portugal as a result of an ongoing heatwave and strong winds. Approximately one-third of forest fires in Portugal are found to be criminal.
Individuals in Portugal are advised to monitor developments to the situation. Authorities have advised residents to keep their radios on and to follow all instructions (e.g. potential evacuation orders).
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