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Large fire in Portugal ‘under control’ for now – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Officials said a massive forest fire in Portugal is “under control” after raging for days, but more than 1,000 firefighters were still struggling to contain it on Thursday.

The huge fire in central Portugal’s Serra da Estrela National Park was brought under control last week, only to start again on Monday.

More than 25,000 hectares (nearly 61,800 acres) of land is estimated to have been scorched by the fire at the UNESCO-listed park, home to various wildlife species including wild cats and lizards.

An official said late Wednesday the fire was contained but warned it could flare up again.

“The fire is under control but it has not been extinguished. Consolidation work will continue in the coming days,” civil defense commander Miguel Oliveira told TSF radio.

“It’s always possible and very likely that new reactivations will occur, but we hope they don’t reach worrying proportions,” he said.

Portugal’s national civil protection agency said more than 1,000 firefighters were still mobilized around the Serra da Estrela fire on Thursday.

Weather forecasts predict a new heat wave for Saturday, the latest in a series of hot spells in Portugal this year. July was the hottest in almost a century.

Interior Minister Jose Luis Carneiro said on Wednesday “we will see an increased risk of fires in the coming days due to hot and dry conditions”.

Around 92,000 hectares have burned down in Portugal since the beginning of the year, in the worst fires since 2017, which killed around 100 people.

Experts say climate change caused by human activities is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires.

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