Portugal: Number of wildfires, scorched areas falls by half

International

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 file photo, a firefighter is silhouetted against a fire burning outside the village of Roqueiro, near Oleiros, Portugal. Authorities in Portugal enacted a broad range of measures and the government is reporting Thursday March 4, 2021, major progress against wildfires that traditionally scorch the country each summer, with the average annual number of blazes fallen by more than half over the past three years. (AP Photo/Sergio Azenha, File)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s government is reporting major progress against wildfires that traditionally scorch the country each summer, saying Thursday the average annual number of blazes and charred area has fallen by more than half over the past three years compared with the previous decade.

Authorities enacted a broad range of measures after wildfires killed more than 100 people in 2017.

Though officials said climate change, including higher temperatures and lower rainfall, was partly to blame for the destruction, experts also identified poor forest management and preparedness as a cause of repeated outbreaks.

Authorities say they have opened more than 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) of firebreaks in recent years.

Nobody has died in forest blazes in Portugal since 2017.

The government concedes, however, that much remains to be done to address the underlying causes of wildfires.

They include a migration of people from the countryside to urban areas, leaving large areas untended, and the large swathes of unbroken conifer forests and eucalyptus plantations, which are economically profitable but burn fiercely.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Download our news app

App Store Link
Google Play Link
HOW TO MAKE NEWS10 YOUR HOMEPAGE_1280X720
CHECK OUT OUR NEW APP FEATURES

Click Below to set up your cable box

Latest COVID-19 News

More COVID-19

Cuomo Under Fire News

More Cuomo Under Fire