04/09/2012 - Yesterday afternoon the authorities in Lisbon requested assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to support efforts to tackle a series of forest fires that are raging in Portugal.
Spain was quick to respond, sending two Canadair aircraft that began assisting in fire-fighting operations yesterday evening. The Commission also agreed to the immediate deployment of two EU-funded aeroplanes from France that will join in the effort to tackle the fires today.
The districts worst affected are Santarém, Leiria, Viseu, Aveiro and Coimbra, in the central part of the country. Portugal faces the risk of forest fires every summer but the current situation is particularly severe following a long dry spell with little rainfall. Moderate to strong winds are fanning the flames. Dry weather is forecast for at least four more days, and across most the country, the forest fire risk ranges from very high to extreme.