Portugal at ‘maximum risk’ as temperatures set to soar to 45C

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Forest fires have been ripping through parts of Portugal (AFP via Getty Images)
Forest fires have been ripping through parts of Portugal (AFP via Getty Images)

Temperatures in Portugal are set to soar to 45C on Tuesday with the country’s prime minister warning of “maximum risk” with fires already leaving dozens injured.

Houses have been destroyed by blazes which have ripped through some regions in the country.

Since Thursday Portugal has been hit by high temperatures that are forecast to exceed 45 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: “In the coming days we will experience conditions of maximum risk.

“The slightest lapse in vigilance could result in a fire of significant proportions.”

Andre Fernandes, a civil protection commander, warned: “There is no significant fire active at this moment (but) the situation is serious.”

The blazes left 27 people injured with many buildings left in charred piles after being ravaged by fire.

The most serious fire started on Thursday in the town of Ourem, 80 miles north of Lisbon.

It tore through around 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of vegetation and 600 firefighters were scrambled to the area.

Another blaze devastated a swathe of forest near Carrazeda de Ansiaes, in an isolated region of the northeastern district of Braganza, between Thursday and Saturday.

The Portuguese government issued a national “state of contingency” to reinforce the emergency services and beef up emergency powers.

Lisbon has also asked the European Union to activate its civil protection mechanism, and two fire-fighting planes have already been sent to Portugal from Spain.

On Saturday, the country recorded 125 fires, the highest number in a single day this year, with around 1,500 firefighters fighting three big blazes.

The government declared a state of alert across the country, from Monday to Friday 15 July.

The Portuguese prime minister, who cancelled a visit to Mozambique in response to the crisis said: “Today the country is better prepared” referring to 2017, when forest fires left over 100 people dead.