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80% Of Portugal In Extreme Drought As Fires Ravage Iberian Peninsula

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:20 PM
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80% Of Portugal In Extreme Drought As Fires Ravage Iberian Peninsula
Southern Europe, in the grip of a heat wave, was on the alert Wednesday as fires raged on in parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy, claiming 13 lives and destroying thousands of hectares of brush and forest. The most severe damage was wrought in Spain, which is suffering from its worst drought since 1945.

A forest fire killed 11 volunteer firemen and burnt some 13,000 hectares (32,500) of pine trees on Saturday in the central region of Guadalajara. Believed to have been sparked by a campers' barbecue, the fire was largely brought under control on Wednesday after an all-night struggle. It still blazed on one front but was encircled by an eight-kilometer (five-mile) barrier. Funerals for the 11 firefighters -- aged 24 to 52 -- were held on Wednesday.

The drought showed no sign of letting up, and temperatures in the centre of the country on Wednesday hit 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).


"Extreme" drought is affecting 80 percent of the country, notably in the southern Alentejo and Algarve regions, while in the rest of the country the situation is classified as "serious" by Portugal's Water Institute. The government has launched a public awareness campaign urging people to conserve water.

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