Portugal seeks European help to contain wildfires

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 3:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 3:27pm

A Portuguese official said on Tuesday authorities have asked other European countries to send help as the country’s firefighters struggle to contain forest blazes being fuelled by soaring temperatures and high winds.

Local mayor Paulo Fonseca said a man died on Monday as he tried to douse flames around his farm near Ourem, about 150 kilometres north of Lisbon.

Media reported two people were injured when a firefighting helicopter crashed in the same area.

More than 1,700 firefighters, almost 500 vehicles and 13 aircraft fought blazes mostly in the north of the country.

Much of Portugal is in severe drought and hot, windy weather is forecast for most of the week.

Civil Protection Service official Patricia Gaspar says Portugal has asked other European countries to provide at least four water-dumping aircraft.