Portugal on Wildfire Alert as Temperatures Climb

Map of Portugal
CIA Factbook

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Authorities in Portugal put the entire country on a state of alert on Monday due to the high possibility of wildfires.

High temperatures in recent weeks have left many forested areas bone dry, and declaring a state of alert allows officials to place firefighting assets on standby for quick deployment.

Portugal is deeply wary of the threat of wildfires after two major blazes killed 106 people three years ago. Major wildfires occur each year, with poor forest management is blamed for repeated outbreaks.

The government announced a state of alert for 48 hours, through midnight Tuesday. It was the second time in 10 days the government has taken the step amid a torrid July. Temperatures in the shade some inland areas were forecast to reach 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) on Monday.

Under the state of alert, public access to forests is blocked, fireworks are prohibited and farmers cannot use machinery in wooded areas, among other measures. Police and forest rangers are to increase patrols.

The government says it has more than 12,000 firefighters, over 2,500 vehicles and 60 water-dropping aircraft on standby.

The Civil Protection Agency reported no major blazes early Monday.

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