Europe

Deadly fires rage on in Portugal

Portuguese firefighters are continuing to battle dozens of forest fires that are sweeping through the country and have killed two of their colleagues.

50 fires are burning in central and northern parts of the country, according to the Reuters news agency.

The country's civil defence agency says that 1,500 firefighters have been mobilised to tackle the blazes.

Around 18,000 hectares (44,500 acres) of forests and bushland are now believed to have been affected.

Temperatures in some areas were forecast to reach 40C (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Portugal's only national park - the Peneda-Geres National Park in the north-west of the country - is one of the areas under threat.

Earlier this month the civil defence services registered 1,000 new fires over a single weekend, a record high for the year.

Trapped by flames

The firefighting attempt has been hampered by strong winds that have whipped up the fires.

Portuguese civil protection officials say a female firefighter died after being trapped by flames in Gondomar region.

In a separate incident, a fireman was killed after his vehicle fell into a burning ravine in the mountainous Sao Pedro do Sul area.

The current fires are the latest to have hit Portugal in recent years.

In 2006, six firefighters were killed whilst tackling a wildfire in the centre of the country.

And in 2003, 18 people were killed in fires described as "the worst in living memory".

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