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Portuguese govt survives no confidence vote over forest fires
by Staff Writers
Lisbon (AFP) Oct 24, 2017

Fire engulfs huge area of Brazilian national park
Brasília (AFP) Oct 24, 2017 - A fire suspected to have been caused by arson has engulfed 133,436 acres (54,000 hectares) of Brazil's Chapada dos Veadeiros national park in the central Goias state, officials said Tuesday.

Almost a quarter of the protected nature area 155 miles (250 km) from the capital Brasilia has been affected. The park, famous for sheltering endangered animals and biodiversity, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

About 100 people supported by helicopters and an air force plane were attempting to battle the blaze, said the Instituto Chico Mendes para la Conservacion de la Biodiversidad (ICMBio), which oversees the protected area.

There were no reports of injuries in the blaze which started October 17 near a road in what the ICMBio suspects was an arson attack. Tourist visits were suspended.

The region is noted for its dry periods between April and September, but this year the late arrival of rains has increased vulnerability to fire.

The Portuguese government on Tuesday survived an opposition no-confidence motion over two deadly forest fires that have killed more than 100 people since the middle of June.

The motion brought on by the opposition CDS-PP right-wing party aimed to "give voice to the indignation of numerous Portuguese who have lost confidence in the government."

The motion was defeated by 122 votes to 105.

Sixty-four people died when huge forest fires swept the central Pedrao Grande region in mid-June. In the middle of October, fresh fires killed 45 people, according to a new toll by the civil protection agency.

"Things cannot remain the same as before," Prime Minister Antonio Costa pledged.

Nearly half of all forests burned in the European Union in 2016 were in Portugal, where fire-prone eucalyptus and pine plantations along with poor soil encouraged the deadly flames.

The country is set to break the record for destroyed forests in 2017, with recent disasters killing dozens of people.

Last week, Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned over the government's handling of the problem.

Portugal forest fires death toll rises to 44
Lisbon (AFP) Oct 20, 2017
The death toll from forest fires that have devastated parts of central Portugal in recent days rose again on Friday to 44, following the death of one of the people injured in the blazes, authoriities said. "It was a person who was seriously injured and hospitalised in Coimbra," Patricia Gaspar, spokeswoman for the civil protection authority, told AFP. "The number of injured is still arou ... read more

Related Links
Forest and Wild Fires - News, Science and Technology

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