Forest Fires have been burning down parts of Portugal since last Saturday when strong winds and high temperatures swept across the country. So far, 13 Major Wildfires have been reported and Firefighters have been trying to fight against it.
Woodland in the country’s northern parts were left dry after months of drought, which was one of the worst droughts faced by the country in recent times, has caused the fires to spread rapidly, and the dry land combined with the hot weather is making it difficult for firefighters to fight the fire. Adding to the firefighters’ misery is the wind and the difficult terrain, as they have together produced a “perfect fire”
Around 3900 firefighters, supported by 32 Water Dumping airplanes and helicopters and around 1150 vehicles have been struggling to fight the wildfire and yet have found no success, making the Portugese government call for help from other European Union countries even as a fire swept into Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s Madeira islands.
The wildfires have so far claimed 4 lives – 3 elderly people in Funchal and 1 Forest watchman who was sleeping in his caravan around 95 miles north of Lisbon. More than 300 people were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation. The fires continue to spread, while France and Spain have sent their aircraft to help douse the fire in Portugal.
A wildfire also broke out in the southern part of France burning 20-25 homes and more than 6,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Marseille. 4 Firefighters battling the flames were seriously injured.
The Russian Secret Service has gone on to claim that Al-Qaeda is behind the forest fires all across Europe. The Telegraph reported that the warning was at a meeting of heads of security agencies, by Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov.
He stated: ‘One should note that setting fires to forests in the countries of the European Union is a new tendency in al-Qaeda’s strategy of a ‘thousand cuts.’ He explained that igniting fires allowed the terror group to inflict ‘significant economic and moral damage without serious preliminary preparations, technical equipment or significant expenses.’
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