Wildfires broke out in central Portugal on Saturday, July 20, affecting Castelo Branco district and Santarém district. Hundreds of firefighters have deployed to battle the blazes, which have left at least 20 people injured and which forced the partial evacuation of a village in the affected area. As of Sunday, July 21, one wildfire remains burning in Centro region after spreading from Castelo Branco district to Santarém district and is 60 percent contained. A criminal investigation has been opened into the wildfires, as all reportedly ignited close to each other around the same time on Saturday.
Prevailing strong wind gusts and high temperatures are reportedly impeding efforts to extinguish the fire as of Sunday and may continue to do so as similar conditions are forecast in affected areas over the coming days. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the blaze.
Individuals in Portugal are advised to monitor developments, exercise caution when traveling in areas near wildfires, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders).
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