Hundreds of firefighters Battle Blaze near Lisbon

MAFRA, Portugal—Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze on Sunday in a municipality near Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, as high temperatures and strong winds made it difficult to extinguish the flames.

More than 400 firefighters, supported by water bombers and 123 vehicles, rushed after fires broke out in the mountains of Mafra city at around 3pm local time (14:00 GMT) on Sunday. .

portugal on fire
People watch as smoke rises from wildfires in Benda do Pinheiro, Mafra, Portugal, July 31, 2022. (Pedro Nunes/Reuters)

A huge cloud of black smoke rose over the town of Benda do Pinheiro in Mafra, forcing authorities to block several roads and evacuate a nursing home. Many locals left their homes out of fear.

Other fires were raging elsewhere in Portugal, including the central municipality of Ourem, where flames destroyed thousands of hectares two weeks ago. More than 1,000 firefighters were mobilized nationwide.

Like the rest of Europe, Portugal has been hit by devastating heatwaves in recent weeks, with temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius (104° F) in various parts of the country. The heat has eased, but the temperature has risen again.

By Catarina Demony, Miguel Pereira and Pedro Nunes