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Massive Fires Rage in Portugal
Thousands of firefighters are struggling to control dozens of wildfires in Portugal, raging amid a summer heat wave across the country.
A trunk burns on a hillside where a wildfire raged in the region of Aveiro on Aug. 9.
The National Civil Protection Service said almost 3,900 firefighters were in action in a massive operation Wednesday, supported by 32 water-dumping aircraft and 1,150 vehicles. Even that wasn't enough, and the government requested help from other European Union countries.
People take pictures of the smoke rising from a wildfire in Funchal, the capital of Portugal's Madeira Islands, on Aug. 9.
A wildfire swept overnight into Funchal, killing three elderly people and injuring hundreds as it burned homes and forced people to flee in panic, authorities said Wednesday.
Firefighting vehicles line the street in the historic center of Funchal in the Madeira islands on Aug. 9.
Miguel Albuquerque, head of Madeira's regional government, told reporters three victims there died in their burned homes early Wednesday as the wildfire hit the coastal city in the dark. He said two other people were seriously hurt, one person is missing and more than 300 people required medical treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
A woman looks over a balcony at burned houses in Campo da Barca in Funchal on Aug. 10. The Madeira fire, fueled by hot weather and strong winds, forced the evacuation of around 1,000 residents and tourists in the islands off northwestern Africa.
Residents described chaotic nighttime scenes, with people fleeing the flames by car at high speed on the wrong side of the road.
A firefighter stands on a roof while battling a blaze at Curral dos Romeiros, Funchal, on Aug. 9.
The blaze broke out on Monday and firefighters said the island's steep hills and dense woodland made it hard to reach the flames. Officials suspect the fire was started deliberately and police have made two arrests.