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Forest fires rage in Portugal

by Staff Writers
Lisbon (AFP) July 27, 2010
More than 1,200 firefighters on Tuesday battled dozens of major forest fires in northern and central Portugal, after extinguishing hundreds of smaller outbreaks, authorities said.

Twenty-five major forest and brush fires raged on Tuesday afternoon, almost double the number earlier in the day, the biggest near the central city of Sabugal where over 200 firefighters were on the scene, the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) said.

However, by nightfall all but one of the main fires had been contained and the number of major fires had fallen back to 15, according to an update from the ANPC.

On Monday, the agency was called out to tackle a total of 416 forest fires, deploying 7,700 personnel, as a warm front caused temperatures to soar with the mercury hitting 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the centre of the country on Tuesday.

The national weather service has forecast temperatures should start falling from Friday.

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